It’s that time of year when everyone slows down and takes an analytical look at the waning year and looks ahead to the new year with some expectations. Mostly the reason we “slow down” to take a look at the previous year is because we ate so much junk during December that we can’t move anymore. I know I did. I baked … my daughter baked … everyone baked! And then the majority of my Christmas gifts were edible. (Whoever invented the chocolate covered marshmallow should be sainted.)
2014 was an “okay” year for me. Some outstanding things happened–two hip replacements, love them!!!, I retired … that’s great. I started a new online business that’s actually surprising me. I realize that the last two sentences sound like a contradiction, but graphic designers never really retire … we need to keep working to keep our hardware and software up to date! It’s a disease and the Social Security Administration just doesn’t understand that I really do need 16 gigs of RAM and two 30″ monitors!
But, to be honest, some not so astounding things happened that are going to migrate their way into 2015 and so shape any plans or expectations I have for the new year. But I’m optimistic that everything is going to work out great and that I’ll remember 2015 as a “stellar” year. I’m a woman of faith and Pollyanna’s got nothin’ on me!!!
I’m going to put my efforts into my new online graphics and custom fabric label business. It’s so much fun. I’m used to graphics projects that go on for weeks … not hours! I used to joke about the client asking me to “put a pig in my logo please.” Now I’ve actually created “logos” with squids, hedgehogs, tons of owls and monkeys, foxes and the occasional ladybug. And I’ve learned that no matter how big or small their business is, the clients are as involved and as concerned with quality and timeliness as my large, corporate clients were.
I admire my new clients. These are people who have decided to jump off that cliff and start a business with no capital at all. Really. (That’s what I did in 1982 when I started “Bastin Art Services.”) They’ve found me on the ‘net — or heard a friend in their knitting group talking about their new labels — and they see that they can get a few professional-looking graphics for a reasonable fee and so–with much spousal discussion and hand-wringing, I’m sure–they contact me. I know when they place their order that the fee is coming out of their household budget, or maybe they have an online business of their own that finally earns enough for them to decide on purchasing some professional graphics.
I love working with these folks. My thirty-five years of experience makes creating the small labels, or Etsy and Facebook banners a real pleasure for me. All those Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials for tips and tricks have helped me learn to work smarter and not harder. The new types of small-business graphics are giving me a great opportunity to learn new techniques, use new tools and truly be creative. Thirty-five years of working with hundreds of clients has given me a sixth sense that fills the gap between what clients say they want and what they really want. (No, I don’t “see dead people” … but I do think I hear the phone ringing when I’m in the shower.)
I guess I do look forward to another year of creativity, new techniques, new software to learn and hardware to play with … and, er, … graphics emergencies, internet outages when I’m on deadline, panicked clients, copyright issues and the dreaded retired marketing professional who has opened a handmade bead shop on Etsy and now wants to do a fully branded campaign … with a pig in their logo.
So meanwhile, “Ahoy, the New Year!!! Permission to come aboard!”