Andi Best Freelance Designer

The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup


  • Published 20-12-2017
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The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
10 of my most popular creative projects in 2017
I think I speak for the majority of the global population when I say that 2017 is perhaps best swept under the carpet, the carpet set alight, and the gathered ashes sprinkled liberally over an active volcano. It was a year that spawned far too many lunatics in positions of power, far too much vehement atrocity on social media and far too many devastating acts of terror, discrimination, and natural disaster. Essentially what I'm saying is we should just pretend it never happened and look ahead to 2018.
Well, actually, first we should look back into 2017 - very quickly - at my round-up of freelance creative projects. I do this every year as a reminder of the accomplishments I've had over the 12 months prior, plus it sets a bar for me to clear with design and illustration projects in the coming year. But after that we can totally amnesia ourselves of 2017, I promise.
These then are the 10 most standout, most popular and most creative projects of 2017:
1. VA Machinery Website Design and Development
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
In January, as the New Year's Eve celebrations were subsiding and revellers were loading up on extra strong coffee in earnest, I was aptly tinkering away on a new website design and development project for client Square Mile Coffee Roasters. I'd produced illustration work for the roasters last Christmas and owing to its success I was invited to work with the team again, this time producing the debut online territory for their new sales venture VA Machinery. Very stylised, very considered, this site is an equal mix of aesthetic and technical design that suitably positions their surplus of espresso machines and grinders in an ecommerce context.
The future of the site has great potential as the present product range is fairly modest and marketing efforts have been minimal, so I'd be keen to work with the Client again on these activities.
2. Molly Olly's Wishes Charity Illustration
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
Opportunities to be creative for good causes seem to keep finding me of late. Last year I illustrated a piece of artwork for auction to raise money for charity Sue Ryder. This year I decided to indulge my charitable streak again. Back in spring I created another hand drawn illustration, this time for children's charity Molly Olly's Wishes, who sold the work as part of a 1,000 piece fundraising exhibition. The illustration I came up with was a delightfully surreal depiction of a desktop office printer expelling sheets of printed fish that were peeling off the pages and swimming into the sky.
3. The Week Magazine Digital Marketing
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
Throughout the year longstanding client of mine The Week have made regular bookings with me to design their digital ad banners, code their marketing emails and develop their various websites. The list of jobs I've completed for the Client's verticals The Week Tickets, The Week Wines, The Week Society and The Week Bookshop goes on, but this year I was introduced to another. The Week Live is an example of new territory the brand is moving into - speaking forums promoting debate and discussion from industry professionals on current affairs.
In order to market this arm of the overall Client identity a coherent aesthetic was needed for ad banners, emails and print material. I devised a desaturated circular patternation featuring headshots of guest speakers, which the Client felt set the tone appropriately.
Further digital communication projects I carried out for The Week this year included subscription acquisition emails that prompted users to upgrade their current subscriptions, or begin using their digital subscriptions.
Given that the pace of my involvement withThe Week has remained constant these past several years I have no reason to expect that 2018 would deliver otherwise (I'm midway through my latest email build for the Client as I type this) and so I look forward to hearing from the team in the New Year.
4. Short Stories Marketing Campaign for Square Mile Coffee Roasters
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
The Square Mile Coffee Roasters team weren't quite through with me yet. They had one more job for me to tackle during 2017; the chance to revive a digital marketing campaign that was on its last legs. Each year SMCR secure limited edition lots of coffee from a choice region of farms across the globe and run digital promotion in a bid to sell them. The campaign was due to be axed if it didn't turn the numbers around this year, so an additional pressure point came with delivering this brief. Fortunately the staggered roll-out mechanic and the online landing page with micro content management system I built for the Client held its own, shifting all the coffee stock successfully and reviving the annual campaign. It's for this reason that I hope to work with the Client again in 2018, by renewing the microsite and extending the campaign yet again.
5. Spartan Restoration Identity and Website Development
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
As ever, projects from Startup businesses made up a significant part of my annual workload, including an identity and website brief from Spartan Restoration. The emerging stonework specialists had just broken into running their own business and required an identity to set them apart from their competition. The business title fortunately leant itself to a lot of visual rhetoric so the process of designing the logo was both explorative and enjoyable. The Client's vision for a logo was pretty clear so my task was primarily to realise that vision in as concise and conventional a way as possible.
The website design that followed was also a painless task thanks to our effective dialogue during our meetings to ascertain exactly what it was the Client was hoping for. The result was a simple sequence of sliding portfolio galleries tied to individual service pages offered by the Client, as well as the stardard small business page allocations.
Hopefully with a year of trading under their belt the Client will have found their feet in their new venture and will be looking towards the next steps in evolving the business, whether that be acquiring customers through print and digital marketing, exhibiting at trade fairs armed with large format printed decoration, or bolstering the content on the website I built - I'll be on hand to deliver the results.
6. Ugloo - Marketing Collateral and Brand Development
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
In Q3 of 2017 I was approached by another Startup business with a brief to collate a marketing document presenting the Client's journey to date and the software they had designed and patented. French IT developers Ugloo found that conveying the purpose and application of their product was best achieved through visual representation, and so commissioned me to devise an illustrated diagram as the focal point for a marketing PDF they also wanted me to design. The project moved forward positively and further elements were worked into the brief, such as brand adaptation and corporate slide-deck design. The finished result was a series of digital matter the Client could now distribute to effectively and completely express the benefits of their software, unified by the revised brand identity.
Again this is a Client at the threshold of a long passage ahead, so the opportunity to work with them in the future as their business grows is one I hope to encounter.
7. Hathway Hawkes Brand Revaluation and Website Development
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
Fairly recently I was posed the question "how can we attract a different class of clientele?" by print and design studio Hathway Hawkes. The answer of course was through brand and marketing; the cornerstones of the design strategy I drafted up for them. The Client took me on to steer their identity in a more audience-focused direction, as well as design and build the company's first device-responsive website. The site proved to be a great canvas for shaping the new brand assets and setting the corporate tone the Client was striving for. Through ambitious yet balanced layouts, oversized photography, expressive palette and custom site-wide copywriting, I was able to craft a new identity for the Client that addressed their brief on all counts.
This is a business with a long way to go and fortunately they have a motivated team at the helm to drive it. I'd very much like to remain at their side throughout 2018 as they move to broaden their awareness and embark on their first promotional campaigns.
8. Auto Express Magazine Publishes its 1,500th Issue
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
Regular client of mine Dennis Publishing like to make use of my illustration service when assembling creatives for their landmark marketing campaigns. Over the years I've produced bespoke marketing artwork for magazines Men's Fitness, Land Rover Monthly, evo, Cyclist - and as of Q4 2017 I can add Auto Express to the list. In the lead up to the publication of its 1,500th issue the Client planned to run a campaign encouraging subscription both on and offline, with a topical and attractive artwork at the centre. I was commissioned to produce that illustration which was inspired by 80's era vehicle manual diagrams modified to accommodate the key campaign text.
With the trend of placing illustration emphasis on the promotional campaigns of landmark issues in affect, I imagine I'll be commissioned by Dennis Publishing again should any of those landmark publications fall in 2018.
9. The Periodic Table: An Infographic Guide To The Elements
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
Technically the work I carried out for Arum Press and Urban Ant on the book The Periodic Table: An Infographic Guide To The Elements took place across the second half of 2016, but as its print and release occurred in September of this year, I've chosen to include it in my 2017 roundup. 221 pages of infographic illustration were briefed to depict how the known elements of our universe are created, found and utilised. This was a mammoth project that encompassed much more than just rendering the artwork; graphic design, layout design and quite a bit of data analysis also factored into plotting my illustration to ensure it not only looked impressive but was factually accurate also.
This was undoubtedly my favourite project of 2017. The chemistry (pun not intended) with the team was great, the freedom to explore the work I creating was unlimited and though long, the process in turning around the work was smooth. I'd very much love to work with Urban Ant again on illustrative commissions should the opportunity arise.
10. Fighting Cocks Website Audit and Redesign
The Best of 2017 Creative Roundup
The final project to go live this year was for wonderfully unique pub and restaurant The Fighting Cocks in Horton Kirby. I had the pleasure of visiting the establishment for the first time this summer and subsequently had a meeting with the owner about redesigning their website. Keen to learn about how the site could be improved with an overhaul I presented the Client with an audit report I'd put together which identified the benefits of adopting a device responsive design, restructuring the page layouts and expanding the entry routes to key pages. With the audit signed off I moved on to designing the new website top to bottom, with some very bold choices involving video and photography.
The Client was very happy with the new design and has already drafted me in to work on another website redesign project that will see my 2018 off to a strong start.
Thus concludes my roundup of the top 10 creative commissions of 2017; very much design orientated and less illustration focussed this year...
2018 looks to have taken firm footing already with three projects booked in early doors. Of course, January is when the main tide of project enquiries floods into my studio as clients tear off their novelty, felt-constructed elf hats and firmly affix their Monday-motivational, target-smashing work hats. So if you're looking to commission a digital marketing campaign, a brand design project, or a custom drawn illustration I recommend you beat the rush and get in touch sooner rather than later.

Thanks for reading - enjoy your Christmas and have fantastic New Year. See you on the other side.
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