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Shillington New York Graduate Seyi Ogunlade Creates Class Yearbook

While studying at the New York campus, Shillington graduate Seyi Ogunlade took the lead in creating a self-initiated brief, a yearbook capturing the everyday moments of her full-time class. She worked on this project in collaboration with her classmates and teachers, finalizing the book in the last 3 weeks of the course, while also working on her portfolio. Everyone contributed their stories, tips, and artwork for the book, creating an archive of memories from the time they spent together as a class.

We asked Seyi to share with us the process behind creating this yearbook, how she managed to get it all done during portfolio-time, and some of her favourite quotes from the teachers.

What inspired you to make this yearbook?

First and foremost, I would say my photography and the amazing people I met at Shillington inspired me to create this Yearbook. I started taking “random” photos of our daily lives at Shillington right from the start hoping to have something concrete to show for all our time together at the end of the term. However, as time went by, I realized, with the help of some of my classmates that this couldn’t just be a scroll through on the last day of class, it had to be much more epic than that, especially if I wanted to show each student as more than a face and make the different facets and talents behind each one.

The concept and brief of the yearbook were linked to the fact that most of us came from different parts of the globe and I thought it would be great to make something that included a bit of everyone that we could all take with us no matter our destination after Shillington.

From there, the idea of making a compilation of everyone’s design work was born. My other source of inspiration was the thought of inspiring the students that would come after us. I thought about how they could also try their hand at something like this and excel at it.

How did you manage to juggle working on the yearbook with finalizing your design portfolio?

To be frank, there were days, during portfolio I thought this wasn’t going to happen. I remember staying up late for portfolio and thinking about the yearbook and just saying “forget it.” But I do have a hard time letting go and either way, the wheels were already in motion. I just knew it would take longer than planned but whatever the case it was going to happen. I also believe I sometimes underestimate the work ahead when it comes to a project until I get to the bridge and have to cross it, then I’m like, “Oh! This looked simpler from afar.” So at first, the yearbook seemed really doable within the deadlines I had set, however, as time went by and the course intensified, I realized my small error. Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop the work from being done, it actually helps me to take a leap into projects I wouldn’t really dive into if I knew just how far the jump really was. Lastly but definitely not least, I had the encouragement of everyone which was amazing! Teachers and students alike. Our teacher Nikita helped to direct and coach us. Nikita’s help was gold and when I look back, I know this book would never have been possible without him.

The fact that I was working on a “personal project” on the side helped me to get through the portfolio and balance out all the stress even with all the work it demanded.

Tell us about your process creating the yearbook.

My process began with identifying exactly what I wanted the book to mean to us. I wanted it to be chok-full of memories and timeless: I wanted it to be a token we would all be proud of showing off on our coffee tables even years from now: I wanted it to be the stage zero we all look back to and say “wow, I have really grown as a designer.” I also wanted it to be really fun to look at and to make. For this to be clear to my classmates, I came up with a brief which is quite ironic because, at the time, I was used to receiving briefs not making them, but it was easier than I thought. After that, I just had to put everything together and make sure everyone did their part. It felt like creative directing which was amazing because that’s one of my goals as a graphic designer and being able to do this while still in school was a huge honour and lesson-filled experience. The hardest part was setting goals I had to reach and keeping them. That’s one of the reasons I am glad Nikita was there to oversee the work—he kept myself and Jarel accountable and was a sort of “Godfather” to the whole thing. At every stage, I made sure I got his approval so as to know whether I could move on to the next stage or not.

You can see the flip-through of the book on my @hey_shae_hey Instagram page.

What are your favourite quotes from the yearbook?
Ah! There are so many great things said in that book by teachers and students. However, 4 quotes I meditate on often and that are molding my post-graduate experience so far are:

  1. “Simplicity is the hardest thing to attain”—Marcea Decker, New York, Full-time teacher
  2. “Don’t hide your work”—Shanti Sparrow, New York, Head of Teaching
  3. “You only obtain what you put in”—Jimmy Muldoon, New York, Full-time teacher
  4. “Sometimes you need to leave the screen”—Andy Judd, London, Head of Teaching

Want to preview a few pages from the book? Check it out on Blurb! For more, check Seyi’s website and follow her on Instagram.

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