Welcome to 2018! Before we get started, here is a look back over 2017 and how things went for Jaz Design.

On a personal level, 2017 was hard. I’m very fortunate that I was able to keep things ticking over, and that I could use my work as a refuge. 2017 included some of my favourite projects to date, and as ever, some wonderful clients.

Projects

I’m always working on a mix of projects of varying sizes. Some things I can’t talk about because they were for agencies, others were just me and another solopreneur!

Alchemy Photography

A rebrand of a rebrand, and a redesign of a redesign. Dawn’s work had changed direction and prompted another exploration of her “Alchemic” style. It resulted in one of my favourite designs to date, and I can’t wait to see where it grows from here!

Visit Alchemy Photography

Catskingdom

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Friday afternoon is for illustrating cute cats 😻

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A rebrand, website and custom illustrations. Who wouldn’t love spending the day drawing cats? I worked with Jan to refresh her brand and put together a website that helped grow her business and project her unique voice. Upper Hand Digital joined us to help with her online marketing and content.

Visit Catskingdom

Alexia Peck

A collaboration with DRD Design, Alexia Peck is a luxury home brand launching this year (2018). Di did the branding, packaging and art direction. I took that and turned it into a clean and up-market website to showcase the delicious fragrances Alexia has to offer.

Visit Alexia Peck

Helping Startups

Every so often I take on some smaller projects for topics I am particularly passionate about. This usually involves setting up a pre-made WordPress theme, customisation, training, and a bit of branding.

This year I had three:

Hannah’s Pantry – gluten free and refined sugar free vegan patisserie. As a vegan who loves cake, this was a dream project. I helped Hannah set up the website, did some customisation and tweaks to the branding. It launches January 11th with a shop, and blog full of delicious recipes.

Flamingo Londoncreative video and audio production. Fiona needed a logo and a website for her new company. We met lots of flamingos and joyful colour palettes to get to a quirky-yet-professional mix.

The Adult Bible – I set up a shell of a website, and let Lottie run with it. I loved the idea of all these things we don’t get taught at school being in one place. What do the symbols on your clothes labels mean? The Adult Bible has the answer!

Key Events

I wasn’t as active on the conference scene this year due to personal commitments, but I did make time for a stand-out few.

Breaking Borders – now on hiatus, but a staple for me. My favourite talk was Rachel Andrew talking about CSS grid. Blew my mind, made me more excited about front end development than I’ve been for a long time!

WXG – I love that the team always get such a mix of speakers. I also won an amazing goody box for my conference nails. I used the Amazon vouchers to buy a big stack of books, The War of Art being the one that gave me the biggest kick up the bum.

Bytes Conf – I wrote a thread on Twitter gushing about this one, in short it was wonderfully refreshing. It’s very easy when you’re a solo freelancer to feel disconnected. Conferences and meetups counterbalance that.

Things Learned

I’ve seen other people posting about this, burnout is real. I didn’t feel like I could take a break, but in the end forcing myself to do that is what helped me the most.

I took my MacBook, the entire A Book Apart library, jumped in my car and sequestered myself in a small hut on a Cornwall cliff for a week (with an ample supply of tea and pain au chocolat).

The change of scene, the novelty of working away from my desk, and reading about the basics settled everything back into place.

Other things I’ve learnt about include illustration (as part of the Catskingdom project), how much fun it is to collaborate (Upper Hand Digital, Alchemy and DRD) and that Sass is actually our lord and saviour (ok, mostly, I have more thoughts on that one too…)

Plans for 2018

In the coming weeks my new brand and website will be launching. It’s a long time coming, and something I’m really excited about sharing.

I also want to start to specialise my work. I am keen to work with educators, creators, charities and vegan brands. I give my all to any project, but these are things I’m particularly passionate about and I’d like to build on my existing experience to help these kinds of clients.

Back to more conferences this year too, returning to Reasons: London, WXG, Reasons: Brighton (when it’s announced) and as many little meet ups as possible!

Conclusion

2017 was a challenging year, with a lot of lessons thrown in. 2018 promises to be another challenging year, but with lots of growth, more learning and more lovely clients!

Thank you to each and every client, peer and collaboration for your support throughout 2017 and beyond, I’m beyond happy to still be freelancing after more than four years, and I couldn’t do it without all of you!