Looking back, moving forward

2012 was a big one. 

One year ago, I took the leap and decided to pursue freelance graphic design full-time. I am happy to report that Year One was a huge success. As I did last year, I'd like to take a moment to highlight some exciting landmarks that made 2012 a year to remember:
  • In January, I launched Alphabet 100, a lettering project for 2012. Every week, I picked a letter and set out to sketch 100 thumbnails. Then, I chose the best / most interesting option, and rendered it in Illustrator. 52 weeks later, I had 52 complete letters – A through Z, in both upper and lower case. (I am just wrapping up the last 2 letters – please stay tuned!)
  • In March, I launched my second print in my online store, Numbers Print #1. I also completed a little photo essay on the typographic choices of the new Loblaws at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. It was great fun.
  • May was a big month. At the beginning of the month (and just in time for National Etiquette Week), I revisited the Toronto Etiquette Project and relaunched it as the more inclusive Urban Etiquette Project (Le Projet D'Étiquette Urbaine for our French-speaking friends). I was pleased as punch with the reception, which included a mention on two of my favourite blogs, Quipsologies and Swiss Miss. Exciting! Then, I found out that my Numbers Print #1 had been selected to participate in Creative Type Four, an annual curated exhibition of typographic artwork from Toronto illustrators, artists and graphic designers. Exciting! On May 13, I did something I never thought I could do: I participated in the Sporting Life 10K Run in Toronto. My final run time was 1:04:35, but more importantly, I raised $420 to help kids with cancer go to camp. It was the most exciting, gratifying event I have ever been part of, and cannot wait to start training for this year's marathon.
  • In July, I designed my first large billboard, which was for Greenpeace Canada. I also turned 30 on July 30th. Best birthday ever.
  • In August, I took a mini-vacation to Montréal. 9 days, 21 coffeeshops, 600+ photos, 3 crepes, 2 poutines. Lots and lots of photos here.
  • In November, I was given the opportunity to design the poster and promo materials for one of my favourite rock musicals, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Definitely one of my favourite projects of the year! I also completed a movie-themed bilingual desk calendar for Audio Ciné Films, which was super fun to work on.

When I started my freelance career one year ago, I was both excited and trepidatious. There was really no way to know how 2012 would unfold. Where will the work come from? Will I have enough money to get by? 
As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, I started to recognize – and embrace – the ebb and flow of freelance work. When I stopped worrying, my work improved. And with better work, more work came in (I guess good work does beget more work). But the bigger, more significant personal revelation of the year was this: if you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. I feel blessed every day that I am able to do graphic design and lettering work – and get paid to do so. Life is good.

I have a lot more projects and blog posts planned for the new year, including a more extensive post on the things I have learned in Year One, and advice for those who are entering the freelance world. Please stay tuned!

This formative year wouldn't have been possible without the unending support of family, the generosity of friends, and the encouragement of the community. Thanks to all of you, truly.

I wish each one of you a healthy and happy new year.