Do you need an agent?


4 August 2016


As a fresh-faced and eager young graduate, you’ll likely be looking for the best way to get your work out there and in front of as many eyes as possible. You’ve got a glittering portfolio, but do you need an agent too? We spoke to a bunch of creatives, and their opinions varied wildly.

“To me it’s important to talk and present my own work as it comes from me”, says graphic designer Fraser Muggeridge. But the big design studios, often pushed for time, find that agencies are a godsend when looking for new talent for a brief. James Hurst, executive strategic creative director at DesignStudio, says: “Being on the radar with as many people as possible will ensure you get better connections. We rely on the agencies we work with to understand the type of designer we’re looking for and act as our eyes and ears for people we should be keeping an eye on.”

That’s all well and good for the big guns, but younger creatives also find agents to be helpful in negotiating the less fun aspects of work – the legal things, the fees, the finding work. Illustrator and It’s Nice That 2016 graduate Michael Driver says: “I think agents are a really important part of the creative industry, they keep the wheels greased, take some of the pressure of having to constantly find work off your shoulders, provide you with a lot of support legally, open doors into the some what cut throat world of advertising and access fees that you would simply never feel comfortable asking for yourself. The illustrator/agent relationship is a really interesting one, and they can range from agency to agency but I think some of the best agencies put their artists way ahead of their clients.”

However, he feels that when first graduating, finding an agent shouldn’t be a priority.  “Realistically it’s not until the last six months of your course until you start to figure out maybe how you might like to work and I think six months just isn’t long enough to have a large enough portfolio for most agencies to take you on,” he says. “I worked really hard but mainly got lucky and I still feel like my stuff is wobbling all over the place and has no sense of direction.”

Fellow illustrator Kyle Platts agrees: “It is possible to get by without an agent as everyone can now manage their own PR and promote their work through social media. However they are still valuable when it comes to dealing with larger jobs, whether it be negotiating fees or working out contracts.”

If you want more helpful advice like this, words of wisdom from past grads and ideas about places to go and websites to visit for inspiration, download our specially created Grad Pack here.

Supported by G . F Smith

It’s Nice That’s Graduates 2016 is kindly supported by G . F Smith, whose gorgeous range of papers and services can be just the thing for new and soon-to-be creative grads. The 130-year-old paper company has a long history of working with designers and artists at all stages of their careers, with its high-quality and innovative paper products offering a huge range of creative possibilities.

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About the Author

Emily Gosling

Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.

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