Sheena Fortune

Sheena graduated with a First Class BA in Visual Communications from LSAD in 2008, after which she moved to London and gained her initial industry experience. Sheena spent two years in a studio that equipped her with a very hands on, practical knowledge of the printing and branding process and focused her attentions towards the type of Graphic Design she would like to pursue. Sheena has been based in Dublin since 2011 where she has been lucky enough to work on some really great and varied clients. She is currently Senior Graphic Designer with Bossanova, Co-Founder of Basement Space Gallery and True Batch Batch Brew.

advice for students:

What advice would you give to students who are beginning their studies?
Use all the equipment at your disposal and learn how to get the most out of it – before you have to go out and buy your own! Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Don’t second guess yourself – Visual Communications is a very broad qualification and covers a multitude of creative processes. Enjoy taking your time finding the area you want to pursue as a career.

And for students about to graduate?
Don’t lose momentum, hold on to the enthusiasm you have now despite any barriers you may face. Be organised about how you document your work. How you present yourself is critically important. Pursue projects that excite you, even if they are outside of the Visual Communications bracket.

What are you up to now?
Right now I really enjoy working with start ups and SMEs, establishing their voice and visual identity. I love working with smaller companies and organisations because there tends to be less bureaucracy and more freedom to get creative with the client. The best portfolio projects don’t always necessarily come from working with people who share your likes and dislikes, but rather those who share your aspirations for a project.

How did you get there?
I still have a long road to go in my career and a great deal more I want to achieve. But in hindsight I suppose the past ten years have been about honing in on the creative disciplines I enjoy most, and collaborating with like minded people. Beginning my career in London definitely threw me in the deep end. I interviewed at a couple of places and began by working in a small design studio. That meant that I had ownership over projects and responsibility over production – there wasn’t always the time or resources for all my work to be checked before going into production. Most people start off in internships where they can take their time learning the practical skills needed in project management and production, so how I started my career was a little unorthodox in that sense. But I don’t regret it as I really had to learn a lot of the practical stuff very quickly. I had moved to London with a group of friends who I had graduated with, so I had them to bounce questions and ideas off. I’ve been working with Bossanova in Dublin for four years now and have also been collaborating on a brewing project for two years, True Batch Brew. That project forced me to get away from behind the screen and work more face to face with people at festivals and events. Taking on a project like that was initially a daunting prospect but has proved to be very worthwhile and I have gotten to work on some great collaborative projects because of it.

I have found that regardless of how big a client or project is, the creative process I learned at Limerick have remained the same. We still brainstorm, use an ideas wall and actively ask for group crits and feedback, just as we did back in college. A good project relies entirely on having a clear, strong idea as a starting point. So it’s important that graduates aren’t afraid to make their voice heard.

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