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Creative career choice lets Jordi follow her heart

9 Feb 2021

Head or heart? That was the career choice facing young Gympie artist Jordi Kate Millard until a USC degree helped her to channel her creativity into her own design business.

Since graduating from USC last year with a Bachelor of Design, majoring in Visual Communications, she has set up Jordi Kate Designs, a freelance company offering a range of custom options to clients in Gympie, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

“From the get-go I was always creative, so my inspiration was always there. However, it took a three-year gap after school before deciding to try to turn this creativity into a career,” said Jordi, who received a USC Commendation for Academic Excellence when she graduated.

“Art was my preferred subject at school. But when I finished senior at St Patrick’s College in 2013, I was confused between choosing a career path with my head or heart,” she said.

“I knew any creative field was going to require hard work to be successful and well-paying, so I took time out to gain some life experience, including a role in business administration at a law firm and working in e-commerce fashion in London.”

Returning from overseas to Gympie, she enrolled in USC’s Design degree (Visual Communication), which combines a strong industry focus with encouraging students to develop their own creative passions, skills and style.

As part of the degree, students build a portfolio of work and undertake real-world industry projects and internships. Jordi was selected to join a small group of students to complete a USC interpretive design project to help save sun bears in Laos.

“Without a doubt, taking part in the Free the Bears project as part of USC’s collaboration with the Laos Department of Forestry was the highlight of my studies,” Jordi said.

Now she has graduated, Jordi’s focus is on establishing herself as a freelance designer.

“I know there are challenges involved with any start-up. However, my degree has really set me up for operating my own business,” she said.

“Along with design skills and knowledge of creative processes, I am also using the insights I gained into the creative industry at large and the business side of design..

“In this digital age, people are starting to see that transforming words and pictures into visual designs that tell a powerful story and engage with an audience is a talent and something successful businesses need.”

Her new venture is gaining strong support from the Gympie community.

“Jordi Kate Designs is actually going much better in this initial start-up phase than I expected,” she said. “Being from a small community, people are sharing the love and I am very busy with many small design jobs.

“I am now looking to enhance my services and expand my client base, while not forgetting to take time out to keep creating my own personal artwork.”

USC Bachelor of Design graduate Jordi Millard.

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