A year in review, and the year to come

A year in review, and the year to come

Another Christmas has been and gone, a whole load of fireworks and booze saw us into the new year (and this time new decade) yet again, and now here we are in dreary January, wondering what 2020 will hold.

"I do the same thing every year, and as I don’t necessarily set ‘resolutions’ as such, I always wonder at the end of the year whether I have in fact met the expectations of 12-month-previous-me…" - Me, last year

At the start of 2019, I wrote out a list of goals for the year and beyond – some achievable within the year, some more ambitious and more realistically to be completed in the future. I decided that this year it would be a nice idea to reflect on what I managed to achieve in 2019, and how I’d like to adapt the list going forward into the fresh new year (and perhaps decade) ahead.

So, without further ado, last year’s list in review:

  • Sell my own products. Tick! When I wrote last year’s blog post at the end of January, I had just launched my first product range in the form of my Punny Love Valentine’s Day cards. I then followed up with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas greeting cards, as well as hand-painted denim and custom illustrated prints, including the wildly popular Pet Portraits.
  • Get Blogging. Another tick, although I’ve not written half as many blog posts as I would have liked to. Something to work harder on this year!
  • Develop a distinctive style. I’ve definitely improved on this one, although I still think I have a way to go – although honestly, I think this may be something that I’m never fully happy with and will always be tweaking and changing. What with the development of the MJP branding and therefore more limited colour scheme, the consistent and popular style of my custom prints, and the practice I’ve had from creating various illustrations throughout the year, the MJP style has become more refined.
  • Develop the MJP brand. As previously mentioned, this is a definite tick! 2019 saw a huge rebrand for my little company, with a new logo, colour palette, and complete brand identity, as well as a new website, and even a new sub-company to handle the product side of the business, The Doodle Mill.
  • Brand/rebrand a company. Done! This year I’ve had the opportunity to work with various fabulous businesses to create their branding, and although I haven’t yet had the chance to complete a whole marketing campaign as I wrote on my goals last year, I’m hoping to get the chance in the future.
  • Work on my online presence. A customised site built for MJP, a second site built for The Doodle Mill, newsletters launched for the latter, two separate lots of social media to run… I’ve definitely made headway on this one. Still need to work on consistency, but I’m in a better place than last year for sure.
  • Develop my motion graphic skills. I’ve created some great animations this year, and I’m now pretty proficient in frame-by-frame animation, as it is my style of choice over the smoother, more modern stuff – although for efficiency’s sake, I’d still like to get better at using After Effects.
  • Further develop my coding skills. I learnt Liquid this year (Shopify’s coding language) in order to customise my site, and I’m really glad that I did so as I am now able to offer Shopify site development and management as a service at MJP, to provide customers with an eCommerce solution for their business.
  • Teach. Where I started getting more ambitious, for sure! I did post my first tutorial on this blog earlier in the year and teach a good few people how to use Procreate, but that was as far as this one got. I would like to try out some simple tutorials for social media sooner rather than later and would still love to be able to pass on some knowledge at some point in the future, although this isn’t necessarily a priority right now.
  • Downloadable freebies. I never got around to this, although I would love to! Just need to come up with the right idea.
  • Paint a mural. Still waiting on someone to let me do this!!
  • Wedding invites. See above… maybe I’ll end up waiting ‘til my own wedding?!
  • Create a Procreate Brush. Another thing I still need to try, but not a priority.
  • Attend a design conference. Done! I attended the Creative Waffle Live conference in November, which was great – and can’t wait for my next one.
  • Do a branding campaign. Another super ambitious one – not ticked off yet, but I hope to do so in the future!
  • Illustrate a children’s book. One day!
  • Further develop my lettering and illustration styles. Definitely a yes, and as I said last year, always ongoing. I’m over the moon with all that I’ve learned and developed this year in terms of my style and technical skills, and hope to continue in the same way (if not better) in 2020.

When I wrote the above list just under a year ago, I had no idea that I’d be able to tick off as many of these as I have – I just thought I was being stupidly ambitious. I also managed to tick off a few things that weren’t on the list:

  • Make my little company official eek!
  • Start up a second, sub-company in The Doodle Mill
  • Try out new mediums, such as denim painting, sticker making and foiling
  • Edit a bunch of videos – something I’ve always fancied myself at being good at, but not actually given enough time to!
  • Become a ‘player’ on the invite-only designer platform, Dribbble

And in other news, I got a puppy (who is now more of a horse), had my boyfriend move in with me, completed a year-long internship in digital and design, went on a bunch of holidays to places old and new, started swimming again, made new friends and made a whole bunch of memories. 2019 was a good one.

And now, 2020 brings a whole load of new and exciting things to look forward to. Along with continuing to work on the list above, I’ve got a few new priorities for the year ahead: 

  • Working with others. If my year-long internship and first year back at university this year taught me anything, it’s that I’m better at working with others than I thought! This year I want to focus more on networking and collaboration, finding more likeminded creatives to work with and double the creative brainpower.
  • Consistent content. I’m definitely one for starting a project and never finishing it, and this year I want to try and combat that – posting more consistently on social media (and across all platforms), writing more blogs, sending out more newsletters.
  • More new products!

This is the year that I graduate, and I can’t wait to see where this creative career takes me through the rest of my studies, and then once I’m out of education. So rather than writing a list of things I want to get done this year, I’m going to see where it takes me…

So, as they say, watch this space… 

Millie