What unexpected doors can open when studying a Diploma of Graphic Design

Caleb Cougle

Hear from Caleb Cougle on the lessons he has learnt from his Diploma of Graphic Design.

Caleb Cougle’s story is a great example of how a Diploma of Graphic Design can lead to unexpected career paths. A full-time flight attendant, he wanted to dip his toe in the water to see if the industry he’d always been interested in was a fit for him. It was all that and more.

With zero experience, Caleb came to Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University Australia with a thirst to learn. He worked his way through the program’s 11 core subjects, covering Digital Design Foundations, Typography, Publishing and Media and more – all of which contributed to his graduate portfolio.

It was Motion Design, though, that changed the game for Caleb. Like a sponge, he soaked up this introduction to live camera production, developing skills in motion graphic production, concept development, sound design, pre-production and post-production. With a newfound love for the medium, Caleb completed his Diploma of Graphic Design – and has launched a sassy and hilarious web video series, with the first two-parts live now. 

Here, Caleb tells us what a course in graphic design can teach you – and why it’s so important to try new things.

Why did you choose to study Graphic Design online?

 I wanted to get a taste for the graphic design industry. It’s always been a field I have been so interested in. I work full-time as a flight attendant, so studying online was the only option for me – and so flexible. I could attend classes and work on assessments while I was up route.

What was the best part of your diploma? And how did your academics support you?

Humble Hollywood was my highlight. I had so much fun making the series with my buddy Hamish Williams. But when I submitted it, I had gotten in my head so much that it was too ridiculous and that my teachers wouldn’t understand it was intentionally unpolished and rough that I would fail. When I saw my mark, I was really surprised. Even when my lecturer Hugo had asked me to contact my course coordinator, I was still worried I was going to be in trouble for not taking an assessment seriously enough. It turns out he wanted to encourage me. Liam Key, the National Academic Coordinator, has now become a great mentor to me. Liam has encouraged future webisodes and I am keen to keep going.

What processes, techniques and technologies did you learn in class that helped you make Humble Hollywood? 

Humble Hollywood was a short video assessment for my Motion Design subject. This was a subject I didn’t plan on doing. As a result of it being my last subject – and just a sprinkle of “This subject probably isn’t for me” attitude – I roped in my buddy Hamish with his expensive camera gear and set out to finish my last assessments with the goal just to have some fun.  

I learned how to use Adobe Premier Pro and After Effects from my lecturer Hugo – which, before this subject, I didn’t even know existed. I thought we were all still using iMovie – Adobe is wild. As for the techniques when creating this video – and this goes for all my other projects too – it’s about focusing on little details. That’s how you create magic and credibility in your work. Small details like well thought-out props, costumes, cast, typefaces – they can seem like little things, but they add so much more depth. 

How have your career goals changed since completing the Diploma of Graphic Design?

I feel this has now set me up for a career in advertising and storytelling – who would have known? Companies are going wild on the socials and I want to be involved. 

What advice do you have for those who are considering studying Graphic Design?

 Go for it. At the very least you’ll have a blast. Along the way you’ll learn a lot about yourself and where you’d like to go. What a gross cliché, but I mean it. My best friend constantly reminds me of the words of Desmond Tutu: “There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” So, starting your study might seem daunting and you’ll find every excuse not to start the first sentence on the page, but open that laptop, kiddo, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way. 

Introducing Humble Hollywood

Putting his newfound storytelling and motion design skills into action, Caleb not only created Humble Hollywood – he starred in it too. With talent and drive like this and a Diploma of Graphic Design under his belt, Caleb is well and truly on his way to achieving his new career goals.


Humble Hollywood Ep.1 (Preparing for the role)


Humble Hollywood Ep.2 (The Walk of Fame)

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