Now Hiring: Front End/Full Stack Developer

BGN is a brand-led strategic design agency based in Manchester city centre. We build brands for businesses of all sizes and digital is a major part of our output as an agency. Our passion for digital is in bringing motion, animation and brand experiences alive online, for a range of clients including Carlsberg, and Lancashire Farm.

We are entering the next phase of BGN’s growth and, as a result, are looking for an enthusiastic, hard working Front-End/Full-Stack Developer to join our team. Someone that is excited to help shape our company, work with us to redefine our digital process and create award winning work.


Looking for
  • You know the basics like the back of your hand: semantic HTML and pure CSS (SCSS)
  • You’re confident with Javascript and have experience with a framework or two (VUEJS, REACTJS)
  • You can build bespoke WordPress themes from scratch
  • You have enough knowledge of Creative Suite to open and prepare design files
  • Your sites load lightning fast
  • You are a positive person and enjoy communicating and collaborating with other team members
  • You love to learn
Nice to have
  • You enjoy bringing sites to life using CSS animation/animation libraries
  • Experience working with WooCommerce or Shopify
  • Experience using Craft CMS
  • Laravel / PHP experience
  • Any server or domain experience
  • Any experience working with GIT
  • Profit share
  • Pension scheme
  • Regular team building socials
  • Breakfast, fruit and drinks provided
  • Based upon experience

Send over your CV with a little about yourself to along with sample code of your best projects so we can see your style. Links to Codepen accounts would also be great.

10 Lessons for Young Designers

I gave a talk to the part time students at Shillington College not too long ago. I talked about the journey I have been on in my life/career to get to where I am today, talked about some mistakes I made along the way and wrapped up with a list of 10 pieces of advice for them. As I talked, I noticed a lot of the audience furiously scribbling down the advice as I went through the list. With this in mind, I thought it might make sense to flesh these out and post them here for people to see, so here they are:

1: Be creative in the face of constraints

Give yourself restrictions during your studies and early in your career when producing self initiated work. With a fairly loose brief and ample time, most graduates or young designers will be producing good work, so yours then has to be amazing to stand out in a crowded market. I know, that’s hardly a revelation, but in a world where everyone is producing work in these exact same circumstances, standing out is no simple task. A way more appropriate introduction to the industry that you ultimately want to be a part of is to ensure some of your portfolio is filled with work that has been produced under a set of constraints. Give yourself a tight deadline, a restrictive print technique, design constraints… Basically mimic the conditions you may have in industry and work to the best of your ability within them. On the start of most of your journeys, this will prove invaluable. Also, creativity in the face of constraints is a sign of a talented designer, and will help you to stand out when applying for roles.

2: Measure everything

Another point to note with relation to the above (in the quest to be commercially aware) is to measure everything on your projects, be aware of how long it takes you to do things. Eventually, someone will ask you how long a project took to complete or ask you to give a quote for how much something will cost, so make sure you have a record of how long it takes you to produce your work.

3: Be interested
You design best when you are interested in the subject matter. This is not a cue to disappear into your own world and only design covers for the kind of brands and industries you like, but instead me urging you to make yourself interested in what your client is doing – they’re interested, and you can be too. It’s the best way of showing that you have fully researched and understood what it is that they do, and how they do it.

4: Just cause the client is happy, doesn’t mean it’s good
Depending on how ambitious you are, and whether peer feedback and reputation is important to you, producing something on time isn’t the sign of a good piece of design, being under budget is not necessarily something to hang your hat on. If creative work is compromised to hit budgets and timescales (which is understandable), it is still compromised. Sometimes the best thing to ensure the success of a project is to be honest with yourself, your employee and/or your client. If something is improved by having more time or budget invested in it, then in some instances this extra investment should be fought for.

5: Don’t wait for the perfect project
“This brief is too restrictive for me to do anything good for it”, “I don’t have time to do my best work”, “These brand guidelines are stopping me being creative”… All perfect examples of what can only be described as bullshit in my eyes.

6: Have a strategy…
Look for the agencies that you want to work for, who produce the work you would like to work on, that have a culture that you would fit in and target them specifically. Nobody likes receiving emails with literally every other Creative Director in the surrounding county in the CC field…

7: …and be personal
When approaching an agency, please do your research. All of us CDs are on Twitter, there are bios about us and interviews with us all somewhere on the internet. You might not necessarily be able to find out each of our mother’s maiden names, but the least you can do is talk to us – address correspondence with the correct name and at least show you haven’t just plucked us out of the phone book with a “gis’ a job” attitude.

8: Love where you are
Once in industry, whether you choose to work at a big design house or a small, boutique agency, surround yourself with people you respect, admire and are inspired by – with a bit of luck they will respect, admire and be inspired by you in return. We spend most of our waking hours in our place of work, so try to ensure it is somewhere you like being. If it isn’t or is toxic for whatever reason, then walk away – it’s very important to respect the creative output of the people you work with, particularly in the early stages of your career.

9: Talk the talk…
The second most important thing you can learn is how to talk – about yourself, your ideas, your work, talking to colleagues, potential employees, clients… As much as your creativity will be judged by most of these people I just mentioned, the ability to talk well will make a huge difference to how you are perceived by all of them. Communication is what we do after all, and if you can’t talk well, you are going to struggle.

10: …but know when to STFU
Even more importantly than talking though and the most important thing to learn, is your ability to listen… Nobody likes the guy in meetings who refuses to shut up and talks over everyone else, whose self importance drowns out everything in their vicinity. By the same token, the only way to fully understand a client’s problem is not by talking about yourself, but by listening. Listening to what problems they are having as a business and then applying it to how you can help solve them. This applies to every part of the creative process. When presenting work, you will need to be able to talk about your concepts and also listen to what the client is saying, which parts of your proposal are being well received, which telltale signs is your audience giving off that shows they are happy or displeased and all the rest.

Trust and Collaboration

I said the following phrase to one of my team today: “who cares why? It looks sick!”. Now, this might seem like strange feedback for a Creative Director to give to a Designer, but I stand by it as I know exactly what I mean, and in this post I’m going to try to explain it, because I think it’s hugely important to what we do as designers.

We (the royal ‘we’ – that is, designers and agencies in general) talk a lot about trust and collaboration in our client relationships, but I’m starting to feel from experience that a lot of this is hollow, and in some cases, misplaced. Clients are generally happy to trust their designer or agency initially; allowing us to go away with the information we have gathered from working collaboratively, workshops and/or the joint writing of the creative brief. I think the thought process that allows that is sometimes one based on mistrust, however — outwardly showing trust and letting us going away to do what we think is right for them, but reserving the right to rein it back in when it comes to feedback. This isn’t just down to the client, however, and it would be unfair of us to suggest that it was. Due to the high value of the projects, and each client’s importance to the survival and growth of an agency or consultancy, we are just as guilty of, and just as culpable in occasionally letting this happen.

We often push back against feedback of this kind, taking it as subjective and reminding them (as often outlined at the start of the process), that the brand or website in question isn’t for them, it’s for their customers — who we have gone to great lengths to collaboratively define. This works for some, but not for others, their argument then moves from “I don’t like it” to “well, I think my customers won’t like it either” or “it’s not right for them”. This then puts us in an impossible position. Even after countless workshops and strategy meetings, it can be very difficult for an appointed agency to argue that they know the customers of a business better than the business (who in some cases has been trading to these exact same customers for a long, long time). The collaborative approach finishes and the trust usually stops here, and the agency or designer starts to make amends at the client’s behest, and so their concept and vision is diluted, changed or, in some cases, lost entirely. A lot of these amends, changes and the watering down of concepts comes about (from my experience) from clients not understanding the nuances of graphic design — making them unable to rationalise why certain creative decisions have been made, and why something looks a certain way that doesn’t fit in their non-graphic design orientated brain. This is absolutely fine, but this is also where the trust element already discussed needs to be more prevalent.

Obviously, designers don’t pitch in concepts that they have slaved over for days or weeks just to get a reaction or intentionally annoy their customers. They haven’t decided to ignore all of the research and information they have gathered, or forgot about who their end users, viewers or customers are. They will have produced their concept/visuals based on all of the above and their intuition — that is, their eye for detail, years of experience and careful consideration of the influences they have picked up throughout their careers. Each little flourish that a client sees as superfluous is actually key to the concept, removing these with the flat response “I don’t like it”, “it doesn’t need it”, “my customers won’t get it” or anything else under the sun is akin to introducing systemic risk. Contentious, I know but hear me out.

Firstly, removing or watering down the visual aspect of a concept will ultimately dilute the meaning behind it. The more generic a client is allowed to make a concept through their restrictive feedback, the more bland it becomes and the more it fades into the noise of their market — going against the exact reason that the majority of clients approach branding and design experts in the first place. This is bad.

Secondly, all agencies want to retain clients, and I think if they are honest, clients love a single relationship with a single supplier for all their creative. It gives their owners or marketing manager/director one less thing to worry about. Yet restrictive feedback that the agency has received ultimately (and people may be afraid to share or hear this) ensures that further creative work is restricted by proxy and that the future projects will sometimes never reach their full potential. This is really bad.

The answer? Listen to the designers when they tell you something looks good because trust me, they know. Be honest with your clients, a disagreement like this comes from the best possible place — one of making sure that clients get the best possible end product. We all preach trust and collaboration, but how often do we actually experience this from the client’s side of the equation? An up-front and frank discussion along the lines of my ramble here could work wonders, making sure the project starts off on the right footing.