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End of Year Review – 2016

This year has been very intense in a good way. It’s been thoroughly enjoyable with lots of encouragement and surprises as I embrace the opportunity to become a full-time type designer.

Transformation

No review of this year would be fair without looking back at 2015 and acknowledging a pivotal moment that has had a dramatic effect on not only events in 2016 but my career as a whole. After nine months of experimenting with type design in my spare time, I was accepted by Monotype as an official type foundry which opened the door to millions of potential customers to view and purchase my fonts. My first two font families, Carrig and Woodford Bourne, were launched and I was thrilled that sales started to trickle through and the potential for what I might be able to achieve fully dawned on me.

2016 saw me embrace the challenge and devote even more of my spare time to the creation of new typeface designs. As a freelance graphic designer, “down time” was often spent worrying where the next job might come from to pay the bills. From now on, these quiet times would have purpose and I could dedicate myself more to learning this new craft and making my type foundry a success. I decided to put my private life on hold and spent night and day working on my type designs – loving every second of it.

Pseudonym was launched in January 2016 and immediately had very pleasing sales figures. For me, as a novice type designer, this was extremely encouraging. Every sale feels like a pat on the back – it is both comforting and supportive. To think that someone chose to buy my fonts from the hundreds of thousands that are also available amazes me – and I never take it for granted.

By the end of February, my next release was ready to launch. A simpler, 10-font family, Eponymous is a chunky slab serif face with a 70s vibe to it. I had great fun making the promotional images, harking back to the heyday of Zeppelin and Sabbath at their peak. In fact, they were the soundtrack to my creation of these fonts, so it made sense to follow through and acknowledge their influence.

My graphic and website design work was noticeably lessening by spring time, so much so, that I officially retired from all website design work in April and decided to concentrate only on branding-related projects. One such project was Slim Retreat, which launched in May. Another project that had been completed was for boutique bed & breakfast accommodation set in The Castle in Castletownshend, West Cork – although my branding work wouldn’t officially launch until much later in the year.

Woodford Bourne PRO arrived in July – this was a major reworking of my second typeface design. I had been using it a lot myself and could see further potential for sales if it had more features. The updated version was extensively redrawn, re-spaced and added over 500 new glyphs for use. The text you a reading now (2017 version of this website) is set in Woodford Bourne PRO.

Again, without taking any breaks, I plunged myself into creating Fnord. I had been re-reading the works of Robert Anton Wilson over the summer, so it was quite fitting that some of the themes from his work coincidentally appeared in mine… This 23-font family was launched during September and became my biggest seller to date, peaking at #9 in the MyFonts’ Hot New Font Chart.

Throughout the year I noticed that I was starting to get recognition for my type designs – much more so than I ever did for my website design/graphic design work. Fonts of mine were being selected to appear on font reseller homepages and in their mail shots, online design magazines were selecting them for ‘best of’ lists and ‘font of the day’ features. My Eponymous font was used to create one of fonts.com’s banners of the month in June – thank you Dallas Barnes. I even had a graphic selected as ‘shot of the day’ at Dribbble – which will probably go down in history as the least-liked shot of the day at Dribbble, but there you go… I enjoyed the moment :) My favourite piece of recognition over the year was seeing the release of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series of books in shops… all featuring Pseudonym as the cover font. My gob was well and truly smacked.

For the last few months of the year I have been buried in creating Didonesque, which is due for release in a few days’ time. I am pretty exhausted from it as it has been a very intense creation process. In spite of my exhaustion, I have for the last week or so been revamping my own website so that it is now properly reflecting my shift in career – I do hope you like it!

It has been, for me, a magical year of transformation.

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