2016 was, in many ways, a crazy year and one that — from a global point of view — would perhaps be better forgotten. On an individual level however, last year was fantastic. I climbed onto the property ladder; I’m now a grown-up with a mortgage and tiny maisonette that I adore. I took some great trips and shared some great memories.

Last year was especially strong for me from a professional point of view. It’s at this time of year that I like to reflect upon the previous 12 months of work and decide upon some career goals for the coming year.

New Challenges

I hate doing the same thing and the reason why 2016 was so great was largely due to the fact that it presented me so many new challenges.

  • I became a ‘manager’. Well sort of. During 2016 I was responsible for managing and directing a junior designer. I learnt a ton. And it made me step up my own design work too.
  • I worked with big brands. In the past I’ve always worked with smaller businesses and it was fantastic to finally get some household names under my belt (for ego reasons more than anything else!). I worked with The Economist and Listerine, largely on a project management and production basis. I’d like to be more creatively involved in the future but it was great experience nonetheless.

Design = Marketing

The biggest change for me evolved from a change in the direction that Digital Results is now moving. In the past we were a distinctly project based organisation; we’d make a website for for somebody, then move onto the next one. Our focus is now upon working with companies on a continued basis, as part of a marketing retainer.

This means that I’ve had to learn a whole lot about proper digital marketing. Content marketing is the area that we largely specialise now and I’ve learnt a whole lot about all of the connected topics.

I’ve worked on numerous ‘inbound’ campaigns for a wide range of clients. I’ve devised strategies, created content and analysed outcomes. We’ve had some great results and it’s been fantastic to watch clients ‘grow’ online over the year as a result of our continued efforts. Design is marketing — in my opinion — so I feel that our new direction is a natural progression for me.

My role at Digital Results is perhaps around 50% marketing focussed now. I have greater seniority and responsibility within the team. My official job title has therefore changed to ‘Creative Director’ for 2017. I sort-of hate this title. It sounds a little pretentious to me. But it’s the best way to accurately describe my job role to clients now, so I’m embracing it.

Design Work

The downside of working so heavily on marketing campaigns is that I have fewer pretty design projects to show off. But I’ve still had time to work on some things that I’m pretty proud of.

Recruitment Agency Branding

This is a project from the beginning of 2016 that I undertook at Digital Results. I created a new brand from scratch (in a very short timeframe) then designed a new website. Later on in the year I created a little logo animation whilst developing my After Effects skills. I’ve put the whole project on Behance.

Cycling Training Application

We’re working on a top secret mobile app for a cycling star. I don’t get the opportunity to work on too many apps, so this was (and still is) a really fun project for me at Digital Results.

cycle app

#36daysoftype

During November, I set myself a personal project to design a letter every day. I wanted to work on my typography skills whilst experimenting with the formation of positive habits. The ultimate goal is to build a full font at some point.

#36daysoftype

Digital Drill #01

During November (a busy month) Digital Results put on our first marketing event. I spoke for 15-20 mins about The 7 Deadly Sins of Digital Marketing. I designed a nice website for it too.

Last Year’s Goals

At the end of 2015, I wrote a similar post with some goals for 2016. So how did I get on?

Here’s last year’s list:

  • Take on a freelance project, either branding or web
    Nope, first one failed, not a good start!
  • Complete a 100 day project
    Again no. But I did do a 36 day project, drawing a letter a day. Half a point.
  • Master Sketch and improve my web design process
    I wouldn’t be arrogant enough to say I’m a master at anything, but I’ve certainly improved in this area.
  • Learn After Effects animations
    I dabbled and learnt some basics. You can see my efforts above. I also learnt a good amount about the excellent GSAP javascript animation library.
  • Publish (at least) one blog post per month
    Checking back, it seems that I managed 11 (not including this post).
  • Read one book a month
    I read 4 or 5 books. Must do better.
  • Take a marketing course
    Nope!
  • Take part in another public speaking event
    Yes. I spoke at our very own marketing event.
  • Improve this website!
    Sort of. I’ve kinda settled on a logo at least for now.

All-in-all, not so bad. But I could do better.

Personal Development Goals for 2017

  • Get a whole lot quicker (and better) at writing. Write at least 15 posts here (and a further 12 on the Digital Results blog).
  • Read 6 books
  • Create a font, or two!
  • Speak at two events
  • Code one web project (to keep my hand in the development world!)
  • Record more than 25k sessions / 20k users to this blog (this means writing more, distributing more, and working on SEO).
  • Focus my learning upon Digital Marketing & (Creative) Management (a little vague but hey)
  • Complete three ‘30 day’ challenges. Eg. Write 200 words a day or create a small illustration everyday.
  • Sort out Digital Results website and marketing!