Graphic design is my passion

Graphic design is my passion

Nicole Shelley

7 May 2020

I’d like to share my thoughts on why graphic design is my passion. The practical reasons why graphic design is my passion may not be unusual, but the deep nurturing and continued commitment to the field has been profound and fundamental to my existence.

I’ve been in the business of graphic design for over fifteen years and it’s still central to my livelihood. I’ve worked in a lot of different businesses and agencies both big and small, local and international.

But I’m not here as a career advisor or to bore you with my work history.

Graphic design is my passion – creative expression was of interest from an early age.

My childhood was fairly typical. I was obsessed with crayon scribbling, dressing up like superheroes and building lego spaceships. My adolescence saw me engaging in games like Fighting Fantasy (and even writing my own!), Monopoly, table tennis and drawing Garfield cartoons. I still distinctly remember these particular activities above all others – why? Because they enabled me to express myself, and to also have an effect on somebody.

Drawing and dressing up and playing games always involved some fusion of imagery and words. Drawing things distinguished me from others as I played with colour and messages. These images and words had an effect on the recipient of the crude masterpiece I had created! As Spiderman I looked, spoke and acted in a way that would perhaps leave an impression on whoever I was trying to save or rescue. Role playing games and table tennis gave me an eagerness to engage with others and develop my own unique style to get a playful edge over my opponent.

My passion for design developed into a creatively contoured adult landscape.

I finished studying graphic design, had the Adobe Suite under my belt and began my professional career in the industry very enthusiastically. As I entered adulthood, I suddenly found my whole existence becoming a creative one.

The fundamental design skills I learned from my study (and especially starting out as a junior in a packaging agency) began to integrate into my personality, relationships, hobbies and my life in general.

As a young adult I’d go out dancing a lot. Dancing involves balance, alignment and repetition. I found that I was subconsciously applying the principles of design into my dance moves. And gaining all the right kind of attention in the process! I got into music in a big way and to this day am very interested in music production. This interest has a lot of parallels to graphic design theory – balance, contrast, repetition, colour, negative space. I even began to visualise music frequencies as colour. Bass frequencies as dark greys and deeper hues, mid tones as warmer colours. Colours like red and orange, and the higher notes as crisp bright colours like blue, green and yellow.

My passion for graphic design has now filtered into my dealings with colleagues, friends, my wife and my one year old son. Graphic design has created a unique impression of who I am and what these important people can expect from me. With my son I employ such principals as proximity, visual hierarchy, repetition, colour and thinking out of the box. The adept graphic designer who knows the foundations and rules of design also knows when to break them, and I employ this theory with my wife when I get home on a Friday night late on occasions!


Graphic design has helped me deal with conflict and personal issues. I’m now constantly trying to find a better way, a solution that makes the world more manageable. It’s given me a constant appreciation of nature and the world. Oh, and it’s been a pretty cool rollercoaster career too. It’s for these life-affirming reasons that graphic design is my passion and will continue to be.

Contact me if you have any questions regarding getting into the graphic design industry or would like to apply for one of our graphic design or marketing internships.