And breathe. Looking back on 2018

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I have a lovely Pilates teacher. She’s called Annette. As she sings out her instructions, she tends to say: “And when it starts to hurt… keep going, a little longer… a little longer….” She pushes us, in the nicest possible way. Well, I’ve decided my theme for 2018 has been ‘stretch’. This year has seen me working with inspiring design studios and business owners plus putting time into self-initiated projects and personal development too – it’s been an enriching mix.

In February, I went to the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards ceremony to see the entries I prepared for Carter Wong, Interbrand and Decide all pick up Silver gongs. As a believer in design, I enjoy immersing myself in these business case studies. They help me think about how design really can work hard and effect change.

Since mid 2017 I had worked with designer Matt Burke on branding for skincare start-up Good Science Beauty. It was great to see this launch in the spring and exciting to see the brand world find its feet across digital and print channels. Plus, we were asked to create a new corporate look and messaging for parent company Sisaf.

Then, I worked with Matt to re-name and re-brand his own studio as Almighty and create marketing content including his website and a Christmas campaign on the theme of Naughty or Nice.

In the summer, I worked closely with Forster, the social change PR agency, on two messaging projects, and with comms agency Vebu on a brand platform for start-up Car & Away. I also found myself reflecting on Instagram in a blogpost urging brands and creatives to choose imagery with care, ensuring they’re aware of its role in building notions of aspiration and body image.

In September, I started a two-year story-writing course at the Creative Writing Programme in Brighton and over the following weeks produced eight short stories. Led by tutor Rosie Chard, this has been a very inspiring experience, almost immediately arming me with greater versatility and poetry in my business writing.

The autumn saw some exciting new projects: naming and branding for Wonderfill, a packaging-free supermarket due to open in Hastings, naming for Hopscotch design consultancy, and a messaging platform for Three Eleven architects working with designers at Filthy Media. I look forward to all of these launching properly in 2019.

The busier I got this year, the more I took on. In November, I asked brands to think about whether Black Friday is the right fit for them. And in December, I was delighted to take part in Illustrate Chichester, a local event organised by creative networking group Design Collective Chichester, for whom I helped devise a manifesto. I exhibited three poster designs, selling one as a screen-printed tea towel in aid of local homelessness charity Stonepillow and raising over £700.

Alongside work, I’ve invested in personal activities: the Pilates with Annette of course, but also singing lessons for the first time with tutor Jake Barlow, and some thought-provoking personal coaching. It’s been a lot this year. And sometimes, the stretch does hurt. But I did keep going. And looking back, it’s really no exaggeration to say that I am a different person going into 2019.

Thank you to all my clients, collaborators and to the creative people around me who continue to inspire me. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. And collapse.