Our Billie.
Getting to know the A Team

1. Tell us a little bit about your creative self, why did you want to be a designer, where did you study and how did you get started in the industry?

My road to design is a bit unconventional. I’ve been obsessed with visuals and aesthetics for as long as I can remember. I always judged books by their cover – movies, comics, videogames, and their respective visuals were how I expressed myself from an early age. I distinctly remember loving the aesthetic of old horror movies, Japanese kaiju cinema and 90’s skateboard
culture. My childhood obsession was archaeology, and I narrowly missed out on my dream college course by five points in the Leaving Cert. I was really angry and jaded by the experience so I licked my wounds for a couple of years, and went to work until I realised what I wanted. I kept finding myself being drawn back to design – throughout school I was the kid who made the Bebo skins and the Myspace backgrounds. It made logical sense that it was my trajectory but I was in total denial. After a lot of soul-searching, the right words from the right people and a particularly nasty incident in work, I decided to go to college – I went to the Gorey School of Art for their incredible Level 6 Advanced Portfolio Preparation course which allowed me to apply for advanced entry into IT Carlow’s Visual Communications and Design course where I’m currently studying, about to enter my final year.

2 - How do you see yourself as a female in the design world?

I’m in a bit of a unique situation in my college course due to the fact that my year in particular is predominately female. Through my work with Why Design, and my personal work experience, I’m acutely aware of the gender divide. In order to combat it, I try my utmost to be mindful and open about my experience, the conversation, and how I interact with others. A strong, united front is immensely important and I’m firmly of the belief to let your work do the talking.

3 - When did you first hear about WhyDesign and what was your reaction?

I’m a huge fan of Chris Do and his work with The Futur. In late 2017, he put out a call for European workshops. I innocently commented ‘Dublin’, and within a minute I got a response from him saying ‘Organise it and I’ll come.’. I had no idea how to go about organising an event for someone of his calibre, and sent out a couple of feeler emails to creative institutions – within
the week Kim and the IDI were in touch. When Kim pitched Why Design’s concept to me – I was immediately on board.

4 - How and why did you join Team WhyDesign (hook or crook)?

As I said previously, I got involved with Why Design through Chris Do’s workshop which eventually evolved into Do becoming one of the keynote speakers at the inaugural Why Design event. I’ve been involved ever since, in whatever capacity I’m needed in. It’s such an honor to work with such a powerful group of women – I’m in awe of them all!

5 - Where would you like to see WhyDesign in 5 years?

I know for a fact that it’s going to continue to evolve and grow – each year it gets bigger and better than the previous. The traction it’s pulling is incredible and inspiring. I think the educational aspect to the initiative is immensely important and can’t wait to see it grow and inspire upcoming creatives through talks, events and workshops. I can very easily see it going
global through collaboration and word-of-mouth.

6 - What is next for you?

I’m about to enter my final year in IT Carlow, so my focus for the next year is knuckling down and doing my best work to get the grades I want and ensure I have a portfolio to be proud of. I’ll stay involved with Why Design and Mind over Matter, I wouldn’t miss them for the world.
Another focus of mine is to allow myself to have time and space to explore my creative interests and explore various projects – one I’m working on at the minute is called Video Nasty Presents, and is a visual investigation into the colours, tone and textures of horror and cult

Contact Details

Billie Jean Doheny is a Graphic Design Student

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