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Graphic designer making waves by seaside after swapping big cities for North Wales

A GRAPHIC designer is making waves by the seaside after swapping the bright lights of the UK’s biggest cities for a return to North Wales.

Charles Pragnell has been at the forefront of design and marketing for more than 25 years, working for top clients and companies in Manchester and London.

The 45 year-old has created brands and advertising campaigns in myriad sectors, and, after returning to North Wales to start his own business – CP Graphic Design – Charles is now working with some of the biggest names in this region.

He is enjoying life back in Rhos-on-Sea, after growing up in nearby Colwyn Bay, and while the pace of life is slightly slower he insists Wales is still a leader in the creative industries.

“I left the area after studying art in Wrexham and graduating from Manchester University,” said Charles, a former pupil at Ysgol y Creuddyn, Penrhyn Bay.

“I found myself working for an agency in London at 21 years old, which was very daunting but an amazing experience as the concepts were so innovative, like nothing I’d experienced before.

“It was a brilliant grounding but I wanted to return to Manchester, so I came back up and again was lucky enough to get a place at another agency. These were great stepping stones and helped me on my way.”

He added: “To be in the big cities means there is more industry and there are more firms and competition, but on coming back to North Wales I found there is so much here from a creative perspective and so many forward-thinking businesses that recognise the value of their brand and reputation.

“I’m so fortunate to be in partnership with fantastic firms, there’s no need to go anywhere else or move over the border because we have it all right here, we probably just don’t shout about it enough.”

One of Charles’s biggest campaigns saw him travel out to Paris to present an entire brand overhaul to bosses of an international communications giant.

“They wanted everything new, from the logo to the website.. everything,” he said.

“I was a little apprehensive, especially as it meant flying out to France and standing in front of them all with a complete refresh of their company’s identity, but they loved it – it was one of the highlights of my career.

“The only problem was that I spent so much time running around and getting things ready I was exhausted and my feet were covered in blisters, so I was in no fit state to enjoy the celebratory party with them that night!”

Charles also has a passion for fine art and portrait photography, and combines that talent with an eye for detail which has seen him team up with companies including Supertemps, S2 Recruitment, Beech Developments, Brenig Construction, Jones Peckover estate agents, RPG Wealth and Swayne Johnson Solicitors.

He has seen many changes over the last quarter of a century, and looks forward to many more years of helping businesses of all shapes and sizes showcase their products and people.

“It is a very rewarding job but of course things have advanced in many ways, the biggest change of all being the shorter deadlines and demands of today’s ‘instant’ world,” said Charles.

“I’ve had to move with the times but have managed to do that in tandem with the people I collaborate with, as well as clients, so I’m well placed to grow further in the years to come.”