Introducing Graphic Communications graduate Brogan Algar
Brogan launched her own design company Algar Design while studying with us and has since worked with clients including Fenty Skin and Fenty Beauty, alongside a range of social media clients. We spoke to Brogan to hear more about the differences between her freelance and agency work, and pick up tips about launching a career in graphic communication and design.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey, I'm Brogan, I graduated in 2021 with a First in BA (Hons) Graphic Communication from Plymouth College of Art. I moved to Devon with my mother and older sister when I was younger. Since then I've been blessed with living in the beautiful countryside and enjoying weekends at the beach. As well as a passion for design, outside of working hours you'll find me rewatching Marvel films, working out at the gym and walking my puppy.
I was incredibly lucky that Fenty Skin reached out to me. I completed a design business course with LA based DLD Academy, who recommended me to the team. After securing work with Fenty Skin, they passed my contact details over to Fenty Beauty. This is a great example of 'it's about who you know', networking and creating friendships with fellow creatives.
I was tasked with product advertisement for Fenty Skin to be used across their Facebook and Instagram sites, including static and animated visuals. Fenty Beauty asked me to create visuals for their recent sale which included visuals for both their Instagram feed and stories.
You're a freelance designer alongside working for JDO. What is it like to balance these two roles?
During my final year, JDO offered me the position of a Junior Social Media and Content Designer. While at University, I worked for them remotely twice a week meaning I could meet both University and work deadlines. Eventually JDO took me up to three days a week before asking me to become full time.
Although I work full time hours, I'm on a freelance contract meaning I can take on projects like Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin. It can be really busy! During the time I was working with Fenty, there was one week where I worked around 80 hours. Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin are brands I love, so I decided it was worth the extra hours for the short period of time.
Brogan's work for Fenty Skin
What would you say the differences and the benefits of working freelance or working for an agency are, based on your own experience?
Working freelance for yourself is wonderful, it gives you the freedom to plan your own time and have the flexibility to do as you wish. You can also advertise yourself to a specific audience and choose the clients you work with. The drawback is, there is no guaranteed salary which can cause anxiety if for example you have bills to pay.
Working for an agency, even as a freelancer offers financial stability. It also allows you the opportunity to work with both smaller brands/businesses, as well as big, household names that you aren't likely to have the opportunity to work with as a junior freelancer. One of the main benefits of working for an agency is the support of experienced and knowledgeable designers, the supportive team atmosphere has a great positive impact especially if you work remotely.
What have been some of your favourite projects to work on so far?
Of course working with both Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin, mainly because they are brands I have a personal interest in. I worked on an animation for JDO for Hennig-Olsen's brand, Idyll. I had never worked on a product animation before, so it was a chance to work on new animation techniques.
I've also worked with numerous social media content creators, creating YouTube branding. My most well known clients include Demi Jones from Love Island, Hannah Ann Sluss from The Bachelor and Jessie Sims, a YouTuber and social media star.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Work begins at 9am, I'm very lucky that I am able to work remotely from home and I don't have to travel anywhere in rush hour! Sometimes I'll have a catch up over zoom with the team I'm working on a project with, or crack on with any work that's already been set.
A Spotify playlist is always playing throughout the day, along with a lit candle to create a positive working environment. I tend to have a few meetings throughout the day, but we always stop at 1pm for a 1 hour lunch break. At 2pm I’m back to work and I finish at 6pm.
Brogan's work for Fenty Beauty
What inspires your work and keeps you motivated?
I'm driven by my passion for what I do, as well as to always do better and succeed. I take inspiration from everywhere, from outside in the world, to the aesthetic images you come across on your phone. I like to journal before I begin work, starting with an inspirational or motivational quote, followed by writing down how my day is going so far, any thoughts I have and what I'm thankful for. I find journaling a great way to reflect on why I do what I do, and how it makes me feel - I think this can be a somewhat motivating reminder.
What made you choose Plymouth College of Art over other universities?
Plymouth College of Art was a really clear choice for me. After stepping inside for the first time, I had an instant positive vibe. It felt welcoming and safe, a space where I instantly knew would allow me to grow in confidence and skill.
I was so certain after my interview that it was the right choice, I cancelled my other interviews without looking around other universities. Some may view this choice as naive, but I knew in my heart it was the right choice.
Can you tell us about a highlight from your time at Plymouth College of Art?
Probably the trip to Berlin in my first year. It was really nice to get to know students in other years, while exploring such a beautiful city. I would love to go back!
What top tips would you give current students?
Don't give up. There were several times throughout university where I doubted myself. I thought I wasn't good enough. I'd say it's only within the last couple of months where I've started being satisfied with the work I produce. I think this is something a lot of creatives experience though. I'm definitely my biggest critic, which can have negatives, but it pushes me to always do better - use your weaknesses to your advantage.
Don't compare yourself to others, compare yourself to you yesterday. If you want to succeed, you need to work hard. If you did something good yesterday, do something greater today. Agencies and clients will recognise your hard work, and your work will reflect it also.
I read on one of your IG posts that you felt you had "never been strong academically" - what advice would you give others who feel the same and may be hesitant about starting a degree?
From a young age I struggled more academically than some of my peers. During primary school I was diagnosed with Meares Irlen Syndrome, which meant I found tasks such as reading and spelling both difficult and tiresome. It's important to remember that when you go to university you aren't expected to know everything.
There are members of staff from all areas who are there to help you! Plymouth College of Art offers so many support sessions for academic skills, including support with your dissertation. The help is there if you would like it.
As someone working in a creative industry, why do you think the world needs creatives so much?
All formats of design are everywhere you turn in the world. From the clothes you wear, to the adverts on the back of the bus that you stare at while stuck in traffic. Creativity solves problems, it connects cultures and people, and it does so much more. Without design and creatives, the world would not function.
You can find more of Brogan’s work on her Instagram page here.