CIT Solutions design and Adobe Illustrator teacher Suzie Torkington first started studying visual arts way back in 1998, moving into graphic design the following year.
After finishing an advanced diploma at CIT, she worked in printing before starting her career in graphic design and web publishing for government. She’s also responsible for one of the best graphic design short courses in Canberra. We picked her brain on where to start.
What do you really love about graphic design?
I love the challenge of finding the best way to do something and using the best solution for the task at hand. Also, I just like seeing graphic design practice evolve – it’s always changing.
I think that my favourite thing to do when I’m designing now is to really simplify things, and that’s taken me a really long time to master; to be able to strip back work. When I started, I was always trying to include so much but now I love clean design. It’s a lot harder but I get a lot more satisfaction from it.
So what led you to want to teach?
I like training people and doing things like hosting little groups to talk about what’s happening in the world of design. I also just like working with other people and I often think that if I were to have another job it would be as a teacher. It gives me a really good chance to help people get their ideas out and there’s a great satisfaction in helping them get past the point of feeling overwhelmed by the programs. I get so much out of working with people and feeling pushed creatively, too.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Illustrator class?
Sure. With the Illustrator class, we go a lot more in-depth into the program and its tools – which is probably the biggest difference to the Graphic Design course. In the Graphic Design class, we spend much more time on different processes and do more tutorials – there’s more opportunity to experiment. It’s important to me that with both classes you get at least a general understanding of the programs and how they work together.
What’s your favourite font?
I always find myself going back to Bodoni, it’s just so clean and simple so I think it’s good for so many tasks. When you think about it, it makes sense – the classic features of design stay the same. Yes, some things come in and out of fashion, but when you go back to basics and look at what works, there’s a reason the classics last.
What would you recommend as a first project for beginners who are figuring out if design is something they want to pursue?
In both courses, I teach something simple like a business card or a logo (particularly because we have a lot of business owners doing the course). We usually do that on paper and just have a think about it before moving it onto the screen. That’s a good way to introduce yourself to the process, because you have to do a bit of research first.
To enrol in one of Suzie’s classes or one of our other Personal and Work skills courses, see our website.