A WEB designer from Chelmsford has secured contracts for premiership rugby players and West Ham footballers within nine months of setting up his business – and he’s not stopping there.

Lee Sturgess, 23, set up Polar Creative with friend Michael Burton, 24, and dad Colin, 58, last September after graduating from the London College of Communication with a first in design for graphic communication.

He opened an office in Great Baddow and was soon able to secure a number of high-profile clients, including England and premiership rugby star Tom Varndell and Chelmsford bar and restaurant 59 New Street, which is owned and run by West Ham footballers Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Joey O’Brien and former star Joe Cole. It also has England team head chef, Richard De’Ath.

Lee, from Chelmer Village, said he wanted to demonstrate to graduates it was possible to start a successful business locally and wanted to take on apprentices and designers for work experience to share the secrets of this success.

He said: “Many young designers graduate thinking the only way they can get on is to get a job in London, but it’s a very competitive job market and they could start their own businesses instead.

“Our approach was to put ourselves out there and a lot of the premiership rugby work we’ve got has been through community projects I’ve been involved with, such as the London Wasps Rugby Club’s community foundation, doing some artwork and printing.

“We also used social media and Twitter, in particular, to build up the brand and approach the business slightly differently, using it as a friendly contact rather than pushing sales.”

Lee also spent two years studying design and advertising at the University of Greenwich, taking a number of work experience placements and freelance work for agencies in London and 12 weeks at Manchester United FC.