The Best of 2016 Creative Roundup
- Published 21-01-2017
10 of my most popular creative projects in 2016
I am going kicking and screaming into 2017. I absolutely adored this Christmas break and I am as yet unwilling to accept that it is over. Yes I am still wearing my Christmas jumper. Yes that is a paper crown on my head. No I do not want pasta for dinner this evening.
I've been in remarkably high spirits these past two weeks following what was a very creative and engaging working year. The last quarter in particular saw me commissioned for a record number of new projects that kept me busy virtually the entire season; I genuinely put my head down after Summer to work on the influx of creative briefs and when I came up for air my wife was playing festive compilation albums.
So just what has kept me so occupied throughout 2016? Before I reopen the office to embrace a brand new year of freelance design
, let's take a look back over some of the most memorable creative projects of 2016...
1. 12th Man Group brand development and launch
12th Man Group
were a new client for 2016. They commissioned me to help establish the complete visual identity
for their new sports orientated public relations and brand consultancy.
The project saw me devise a logo for their business, followed by a thorough development of brand assets and identity which were eventually realised in a corporate slide deck and primary website, as well as business stationery.
2. Age UK web portal design
My largest web design project of the year came from elderly support charity Age UK
. The organisation commissioned me to work on their online Raffle and Lottery products
which help raise funds for their cause. The gaming micro sites were pretty tired and in need of a makeover, so working with the team I designed a unified gaming hub that not only made the games easier to play but also boosted their aesthetic appeal. It was a deeply invested project which saw me test the limits of the brand, improve aspects of the user experience and fine tune the user journey from onboarding (marketing email and social media design) to conversion (sales funnel design) and retention (aftercare email campaign design). The numerous email design projects I've been commissioned by Age UK since suggest that our newly formed relationship will continue so long as the games need promoting.
3. Dovecote Moorings website redesign
Not every project I undertake is as complex as the Age UK
design brief. A wealth of clients are looking for quick and simple solutions to advertise their services online. Dovecote Moorings
are an example of this. The client commissioned me to design and build a modest website
that adequately informed users about their riverside leisure and accommodation facilities, presented in a serene and straightforward design. Affiliated with another client of mine - The Heart Of England Forest
- it's possible that more creative work may be required from this client in future.
4. The Week Society email marketing
Current affairs magazine The Week
have been developing a retention strategy over the past few years in the form of a perks platform for its readership. Wine, theatre tickets, DVDs, books, holidays, gifts and more are all available to magazine subscribers at discounted prices via an exclusive partnership programme entitled The Week Society. New offers are available each month so a regular stream of marketing needs to be maintained to promote them.
On the digital front I have been commissioned by The Week to design and code email promotions and newsletters consistently throughout the year. I've built a wide range of clean, cross-client sympathetic and device responsive email templates
that span all divisions of the Society. Momentum is rising for the platform so I envisage my building these marketing emails continuing long into 2017.
5. Kentish Minibuses website revival
The first website redesign project of the year came from Kentish Minibuses
who approached me after their Wordpress driven website had gone stagnant. The template was bland, the content was dreary and engagement was falling.
Scrapping the mutated blogging system altogether I built the Client a brand new bespoke website
that not only buffed up the look of the brand, but also restructured the content into a much more logical and user-accessible format. From a development point of view I really sunk my teeth in, creating a custom coded, geographic-centric booking system from scratch, which the Client was thrilled with. In the coming year I hope to continue work with this client, particularly in marketing the minibus hiring service and driving traffic to the new website.
6. Various print projects for Xtreme Vortex
are one of my longest standing clients. I've been delivering creative work for them virtually my whole career. But it was my output for them this year that secured them their inclusion in this roundup. 2016 was not only the year that Xtreme Vortex shifted their focus more towards audiences in corporate events territories but it was also the year that they rebranded their identity. Those two trends resulted in commissioning me to carefully craft a whole new batch of product-led templates and mockups for customising the company equipment, as well as create brand new marketing collateral
to carry the new identity. The Client was particularly impressed with the pace at which these projects were turned around as their event schedule can get pretty dicey. I predict more template based work will come my way from this client next year.
7. When Sue Ryder saw Menagerie
Not all my creative work this year was the result of client commission. One prominent illustration task came out of a brilliant and unexpected exchange on Twitter. You can read the full story in this post on my blog
but in summary, charity Sue Ryder enjoyed my Menagerie
illustration tweet so much that they invited me to take part in their Secret Art Auction, which meant turning around a bespoke illustration to be donated to their cause in a matter of weeks.
8. Festive illustration for Square Mile Coffee Roasters
Just in time for the festive season Square Mile Coffee Roasters
approached me with a commission to produce a bespoke illustration
for their Sweet Shop
blend coffee. The product needed Christmas themed artwork to appear on its packaging and supporting merchandise and the client was very keen on seeing a gingerbread, sweet-ladened coffee machine. The illustration I produced was approved by the team and is now featured in coffee shops across the capital.
I've already got my next meeting with the client lined up so this looks to be a strong emerging relationship for 2017.
9. Multiplication Rules! print design
Having already established a sound relationship with Multiplication Rules!
from an earlier commission to redesign their website, the client returned to brief me on some new print projects
. Two aspects of their physical product needed adapting; the artwork and design on the product packaging needed freshening up with the latest brand assets and content, and the internal brochure document instructing users how to use the product needed a complete overhaul. Working closely with the Client's feedback we arrived at two finalised designs that went to print and look fantastic on the final product.
Early discussions have taken place about the next project we'll work on together so I expect to hear more from this client in 2017.
10. Illustrated campaign assets for Heart Of England Forest
Throughout the year I have worked on a vast number of creative tasks for Heart Of England Forest
from web design to email construction to web development. With each new brief I've received from the Client there's been an increasing need for illustration within the delivered output, leading to some pretty creative campaigning. Social media posts, email newsletters and printed promotional materials have all contained artwork that I've produced this year for the charity and I expect that to continue being the case next year as well. You can see a few examples of this marketing illustration here
Those were my top 10 creative commissions of 2016; a wonderful mix of web design, web development and illustration. But the fun isn't over yet. A small queue of clients has already formed at the doors of 2017 so when I return to work next week it seems I'll already be racking up material for next year's Creative Roundup blog post. If you'd like to discuss your new freelance opportunity or creative project for 2017 please get in touch
Thanks for reading - enjoy the rest of your holidays and have a great New Year.
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