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Posted 21.02.19

REAL CLIENTS, REAL BRIEFS: Working with The Agency

By Lauren Taverner Brown

The BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts brochure for 2018, produced by Harry Richards & Marie Mateo at The Agency.

Here at Plymouth College of Art, we believe in providing students with positive professional experiences that will prepare them for a successful career in their chosen creative field.

As part of this ethos, we created an in-house creative studio called The Agency - a design agency where external businesses can pitch real briefs to our students, and in turn, our students can get paid for their work.

From photographers and filmmakers, to graphic designers and painters, the skill set of The Agency team covers a wide range of creative disciplines.

Students who are members of The Agency are provided with the support of a full time Account Manager, who works with them from the moment the client submits a brief, until the day the final work is signed off - and beyond in most cases.

"Make the most of every project you’re given, to learn wherever possible."
- Harry Richards, BA (Hons) Graphic Design 

As well as providing direct industry experience, The Agency prepares students for a higher level of creative employment upon graduation, as well as equipping them with the skills they need to become independent practitioners within their field.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design students Marie Mateo and Harry Richards are both in their final year of their degrees here at the college, and are part of The Agency. We caught up with them to chat about their latest paid projects.

Tell us a bit about your latest project?

Harry: Most recently we have been working with the Totnes Fashion & Textile Museum on the design and layout of a brochure documenting their collection of historic fashion and accessories. Our favourite part of this project has been visiting the museum, understanding the history behind the building and the clothing in the collection.

Before that, we worked on a brochure design with Marie Dunaway - the Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Costume Production and Associated Crafts - as our client. We worked with our Project Manager Kamal Gohil, and photographer, Dom Moore. We were responsible for the research, design and printing of a collection brochure showcasing the final designs and costumes created by the graduating class for 2018. The brochure was needed to present the collection at the college’s Degree Shows in the summer. We also created additional promotional material such as posters and banners for a show in London a few weeks after the Degree Shows.

Another World brochure by Harry Richards and Marie Mateo, featuring photos by Dom Moore. This shot shows work by BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts graduate Megan Procter.

How did you secure this job - can you tell us more about the pitching process?

Harry: The Costume team have used The Agency to design this brochure before, however this is the first time that we had both worked on this job. The initial stages of the project consisted of research and preparing design ideas, from which the Costume team could select a preferred direction at our first meeting.

Was there anything really important that you learned during this project?

Harry: There were a few important lessons, both through new processes and mistakes. One of the biggest learning curves was that this was our first project working with external printers, so we learned a lot about the process of going from the screen to the physical product.

Marie: One of the most important things we learned during the Costume brochure project which definitely helped make subsequent projects run more smoothly, was to make sure to print anything needed for a meeting a few days in advance!

Another World brochure by Harry Richards and Marie Mateo, featuring photos by Dom Moore. This shot shows work by BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts graduate Rae Hildbrand.

Do you have any advice for other students looking to work with The Agency?

Harry: Make the most of every project you’re given, to learn wherever possible, and simply be professional with everyone in the process.

What kind of support did you get from The Agency and how did it help you complete this project?

Harry: As The Agency Project Manager, Kamal kept us updated on any changes throughout the project, and he also gave us useful advice and direction for project decisions. One of the best pieces of advice he gave us was to make sure to check and proof our work multiple times with multiple people before sending anything to be printed for a client! Thankfully this is something we learnt early on in the process.

"We were responsible for the research, design and printing of a collection brochure showcasing the final designs and costumes created by the graduating class for 2018."
- Harry Richards, BA (Hons) Graphic Design  

How do you think working with The Agency at Plymouth College of Art will help you to succeed in your chosen industry?

Harry: Because we can decide on the projects we want to take part in, we’ve been able to tailor it to the areas we want to go into, keeping the work produced relevant for our portfolios. Meeting with clients has improved my confidence generally, and my confidence in explaining design decisions to clients has also grown.

Where do you see yourselves in five years time?

Marie: Being part of an agency that works on both print and digital design.

Harry: In a studio, making the world a better place through design.

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