2011, the year of big things

In only March I wouldn’t normally expect the year to have  gained such momentum. But here we are 6 days in to the third month and 2011 is one hot potato.  Let me start by sharing with you my most recent and (but not the largest) bit of news: I am officially a full time freelance designer.

Earlier in the year SNH and I sat down and wrote a big long business plan and by the end we were excited that full time freelance for me was a great possibility. So with a touch of sadness I resigned from my position as Art Director at McGraw-Hill Education, where I had been working for the last 3 years, with my last day being Wednesday 2 March. I was surprised to find so many people sad to see me go, I thought my fiery design ways and artistic tormenting may have put people off but instead was pleasantly surprised that it had only endeared me to them. However I have to say that producing end-products that where thoughtful, design-forward and mindful of the audience helped in that endearment too (even if I do say so myself).

I was also sad to say farewell to my stable of incredibly talented freelance designers, whom I had formed strong working relationships with and who had trusted me and let me guide them through some fairly hairy and tricky educational pedagogical design.

In true MGH social style I was thrown a lovely leaving afternoon tea that included an Ivy Cakes spectacular Tiki chocolate cake:

And in true Astred-style I requested people dress up for my last day. Why not? So I set the theme of ‘Mad Men’ as it’s so hot right now and since that’s my personal style anyway it would help people relate. Instead of requesting everyone dress late 50s/early 60s and risk poodle skirts, bobby socks and ‘Grease’ inspired clothing. Or worse yet, people hearing ’60s’ and coming as hippies (sorry people that was mid-to-late 60s and seriously, do I look like a hippy lover to you? Now get off my lawn!).

To my absolute delight people made the effort and the day was fabulous, now if only we could have brought in bourbon and had really long lunches. I wasn’t able to photograph everyone but here are a few of the awesome outfits.

Martina absolutely rocking one of my original dresses (that I will never be able to fit into. I am glad someone had the pleasure of wearing it).

Victoria, Martina and Fiona | Ivy and Fiona

Myself and Martina | Fiona

Steve and Helen | Fiona

So after 2 official days as my own boss I can safely say I am busier than ever. I am working on some lovely book projects at the moment and enjoying every minute of it!

To challenge myself further, I am starting my first teaching role (this week in fact) at Billy Blue College of Design. This is a huge change for me although I am told it is much like art director (now that I can do). I am eager to see how it goes.

And what else is in store for 2011? Does there need to be anything else? Well, no but there is. One of the other projects for this year is my impending published-author status. Due out in September my opus of graphic design co-authored with 3 other design educators will be unleashed on the world. More on that when I get the OK from marketing.