Sharon Plumridge is a Fine Art graduate of Ulster University, she and her partner Michael run design company Alkaa. Alkaa are a multidisciplinary Graphic Design agency team that specialises in Branding, Identity and Illustration.
We spoke to Sharon about her business and what influences and motivates her.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
My name is S J Plumridge and I am one half of design company Alkaä, which I co-run with my partner Michael McAleer.
My journey began after I graduated from University of Ulster in 2012 with a degree in Fine Art but after spending a couple of years trying to find my place in the world I felt compelled to return to education. I knew I wanted to focus on illustration and so I decided to enrol onto the Graphic Design HND at Belfast Met in 2015, which is coincidently where I met my partner.
It was during the second year of the course that we joined the Belfast Enterprise Academy programme which helped us to realise the possibility of starting our own business. After graduating from the HND, my partner and myself applied for the graduate residency programme with Blick Studios and have slowly started to build up our business. The past year has been very busy between working my day job, creating design work for clients and going back to college to complete a top-up degree.
What or who influences and motivates you?
I find myself to be motivated by my love of all aspects of art and design. I’m always trying new ways to produce work! Seeing the work of other practitioners really inspires me too. At the minute I’m obsessed with the work of Grayson Perry and I love the illustrations of Camilla d’Errico.
What has been your biggest hurdle proudest moment or accomplishment in your career?
The biggest hurdle I’ve faced so far has probably been the decision to return to education. It has involved a lot of sacrifice and hard work! In turn though when I got my distinction and graduated it was one of my proudest moments because I had proved to myself that I was capable of achieving my goals.
Could you give some advice for any young, emerging designers?
The advice I would give to emerging designers is don’t be afraid to make changes; if you don’t feel like you are moving in the right direction then make the change! I would also say be kind and be humble, it makes asking for help a lot easier!