Looking back

A sudden rush project that materialized the day after Christmas resulted in 53 hours of work in six days and a 435+ page document. But that job and 2016 have been put to bed.

Time for a little self-assessment, right?

2016 ended with a sigh. I think we were all ready to kick it out the door. But upon just a wee bit of reflection 2016 actually had a lot to feel good about.

Winter

One of the Whistling Kettle Tea Sampler boxes

One of the Whistling Kettle Tea Sampler boxes

The year began with a new a new project for new clients at the Whistling Kettle. The owners Meaghan and Kevin asked me re-examine the packaging for their popular Tea of the Month Clubs. We started with one project but moved on quickly to create a broad range of pieces including tea pouches, a custom carton, sampler packages (a favorite of mine), various printed inserts and a complete brand identity.

One of the most exciting events of the year for me personally was my return to exhibiting photography. In the late winter I had a photo accepted into the 2016 Photo Regional marking the first time I exhibited my photography since the 1980s. I got a rush seeing my work hanging alongside long-time friends and significantly better photographers like Mark McCarty and Ray Felix. And as I type this blog post I have photos in three different regional shows and submissions out to a couple more.

Spring

Boxes from the Packaging Kit for Mohawk

Boxes from the Packaging Kit for Mohawk

I moved into spring with large projects in the hopper for Mohawk, Sanavi and Whistling Kettle. Of course it was busy because at the end of March I flew to Scotland for nine days in Edinburgh and Isle of Skye. (Nothing like that rush before going out of town to make you need vacation!) I also had a successful evening at the Ad Club Awards and brought home five Silver Addy's.

The month after my brief escape was dominated by developing a packaging promotion piece for Mohawk. Known and respected as an industry leader in fine paper, Mohawk was relatively unknown to packagers. We decided we literally wanted put Mohawk paper into the hands of packaging pros. We wanted them to experience for themselves some of Mohawk's beautiful colors and delicious textures and interact with the paper by folding it and assembling 12 beautiful boxes. We created a great piece that was honored by Graphic Design USA in their design awards issue.

The Create Upstate design conference took place in early May followed quickly by the Luxe Pack trade show in NYC. At Luxe Pack I made contacts that served me well as I moved through the year.

Meanwhile my booth design and the packaging kit made a big splash for Mohawk. Within hours attendees had depleted Mohawk's supply of kits and more had to be over-nighted down for the next day.

Summer

KRUDD Citricello soap and KRUDD Balm

KRUDD Citricello soap and KRUDD Balm

Anyone with kids can tell you that June is nuts. And my June was no different. While my son finished up his last month of high school, I worked frantically with SallyeAnder to launch their new premium men's skincare line. We started June without a name and without having manufactured the products. But that didn't stop us. By the middle of the month we had a logo and had sent label designs off to the engraver. Quickly my attention turned to creating promotional materials. Ultimately we created packaging for seven bars of soap, balm labels, a postcard/flyer with promotional pricing, a catalog, a small give away for tradeshows and digital assets for the web and social media.

In July my daughter returned from a year in Germany. While SallyeAnder launched their line to great acclaim at Liberty Fair during Men's Fashion Week. Later I headed to the New England Camera Club Conference for a few days of inspiration. Later in the month I celebrated and reconnected with old friends at my high school reunion. And at the end of the month I joined the local AIGA chapter as treasurer.

Fall

Propelled by a potential new client I broadened my skill set. Courtesy of online classes, the internet and old-fashioned reading I learned enough to comfortably pitch a project that included quite a bit of social media. And while that project has yet to materialize (I am holding out hope) I went ahead and proposed a social media project and website redesign to my long-term client and friend Marylu at Ferri Formals and Bridals. We redesigned her website to make it not only responsive but to really optimize it for mobile users. I wrote, selected visuals, and created a structure that works for her business. And I then created a social media campaign for her successful clearance sale.

As fall progressed I participated in the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, attended the local AIGA Design Crawl, took a letterpress class and I attended M2Con in Lake George—a nifty one-day conference that focuses on internet and social media marketing.

In November I spoke at the AIGA Get Worked Up Conference about the ups and downs of being a solo designer.

2017 Recap

  • All totaled I worked on 79 jobs. (Fewer than half of the number from 2015.)
  • I worked with five new clients.
  • I learned new skills.
  • I expanded my creativity.
  • I got more involved in my community.
  • And I completed some work I'm really proud of.

I'm looking forward to 2017. Here is hoping it is a good one for all of us!