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Katie O’Rourke

First published November 12, 2021


When our Founding Member, Katie, saw an ad for Shillington, ‘something clicked’. She graduated in 2017 and has been busy forging an exciting career in Graphic Design ever since. Whether at her day job as Designer for British Cycling, or freelancing for publications such as NRTH LASS and Shado Magazine, she’s been busy, but these days is learning to value her downtime, ‘completely free from guilt’. Read on to find out what she did before discovering Design, the new skill she’s working on, and the hobby she’s obsessed with… bonne lecture !


Katie O’Rourke

Katie, what’s your creative occupation?

I’m a graphic designer who illustrates a bit. My favourite projects combine the two! My day job is designer at British Cycling, where I work on all sorts of projects – digital, print, branding, editorial, campaigns, illustration – a bit of everything! And in my spare time I take on a few freelance projects.


Where have you been?

A bit all over the place! Design is a second career for me, after struggling to know what I wanted to do for quite a few years. I graduated with a degree in Fine Art but knew I didn’t want to be an artist. I randomly ended up working in admin and then management roles for five years – where I worked with lovely people, learnt a lot but ultimately felt a bit unfulfilled. So I decided to take the plunge and quit without really having the next step planned. I did the typical backpacking stint, and when I returned after 6 months I enrolled in Shillington’s three month graphic design course. Something clicked when I saw an advert for it – I didn’t really have a proper understanding of what graphic design was but the idea of a creative career with a practical application definitely appealed.


NRTH LASS tees

It does me the world of good to have a non-creative pastime and find a way to use my brain in a completely different way. KATIE ON HER HOBBIES

The State Of Cycling print artwork

Where are you now?

When I finished the course at Shillington I dived into applying to lots of jobs, did a couple of brief internships and started finding a bit of freelance here and there – not loads, but enough to keep me encouraged! This slowly picked up and when I started freelancing at British Cycling they offered me a full-time position after a few days.


That was three years ago, and I’ve kept up a bit of freelance on the side ever since. I seem to be approached by people who are working on projects with a feminist and/or environmental slant, which suits me really well.


NRTH LASS illustration

Where are you going?

I’m decidedly unsure on that one! Slowly following paths which interest me, trying to learn as I go and not rushing towards any particular goal. As might be clear by now, I’m not much of a planner and I’m happy to wait and see what opportunities present themselves. At the moment I’m trying to learn a few simple animation skills to try and bring to life my typography and illustration work – that’s definitely going to be a long and slow journey, but it’s satisfying to see a bit of progress and learn something out of my comfort zone.


Record sleeve design

Outside of design, I’ve been learning French for the past couple of years and it’s become a real passion/obsession! It does me the world of good to have a non-creative pastime and find a way to use my brain in a completely different way. Although I’d definitely love to see if I can find a way to collide these two worlds in the future.


Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?

Prioritising having a restful day before the working week starts! I’ve realised over the past couple of years that being constantly busy doesn’t suit me, and I really value my downtime, completely free from guilt.


Thanks for sharing your journey, Katie! Make sure you check out Katie’s website, and give her a follow!

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