Design Goals: An Update

I celebrated my 31st birthday almost six months ago, so I figure it’s time to get in writing some of my goals for the year.

  • Create a portfolio I’m happy with.  This is a hard goal to meet considering no artist ever has been happy with their portfolio. What I should have said—and what I’ve accomplished!—is to create a portfolio at all. I’ve updated this website a few times, so the work I’ve been creating finally has a home on the internet (other than Instagram), but I also created a PDF portfolio. It’s a cruel joke that in the time it took me to create a portfolio, I was creating newer (and mostly better) work. But I’m so excited to mark this one as done (and forever in progress).
  • Be happy with where you are and excited about where you’re going. Yes! I’ve really loosened up and just enjoyed creating bad work and sharing it. Looking back on lettering I was creating a couple years ago always helps me appreciate what I’m creating now even more, especially when I’m feeling stuck or inadequate.
  • Open that Etsy shop! I did this almost two years ago, and I haven’t looked back! I’ve always loved making things for other people, so this has been one of the most rewarding outlets. I genuinely love packaging up orders, writing thank you notes, designing packaging elements, and delighting people who’ve purchased something from my shop. I have so many plans for the shop this year: expand my screenprinted apparel and accessory line, expand my greeting card line, buttons!, and a second Etsy shop for wedding products.
  • Learn & grow. This is a lifelong goal, and I’ve been loving Skillshare for helping me continue to pursue it. To expand on this for 2019, I plan to keep creating new classes and sharing my knowledge as well.

Now that we’re well into February, what are some goals you’re working toward this year?

Melanie Jane Studio on Etsy!

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You guysssss, I finally made good on a goal I’ve had for at least two years now. Yesterday, on the official day that women start working for free, I launched Melanie Jane Studio on Etsy. Every year around my birthday, I get this burst of energy and motivation to finally make progress on my goals, and this year has been the best yet. I’m starting to realize why everyone says your 30s are the best.

I haven’t made a sale (yet!), but pressing publish on my first eight listings has been nothing short of invigorating. These last few months of cranking out lettering and designs is starting to come to fruition, and that old adage about creativity begetting more creativity is proving true. I’d really appreciate if you could go by and take a look. I’m open to any tips or feedback!

Design Goals for my 31st year

I recently celebrated my 31st birthday, and I wanted to get in writing some of my goals for the year.

  1. Create a portfolio I’m happy with. This site is my first and foremost goal. For the past few years, the main thing that has held me back from pursuing opportunities in design has been not having a portfolio. It’s a tough one: do you spend your post–day job time creating new work that can showcase your talents and interests, or do you spend that precious time working on creating a portfolio? It’s the same struggle any time I want to buy a new wallet—by spending the money, I’m reducing part of the reason I need and want the thing. I finally feel like I’m in a place where I have a body of work I can be proud of showing off. This portfolio will always be a work in progress, but I’ve been humbled and reminded that sometimes “done” is better than “perfect.”
  2. Be happy with where you are and excited about where you’re going. Every time I create a new design—whether it’s a wedding invitation, an illustration, or a lettering piece—I am torn between being happy with the finished product and looking forward to a year from now when I will be even better than I am today. It can get exhausting to strive for better every day, so I’d like to find a balance between progress and pride in what I’ve already accomplished.
  3. Open that Etsy shop! I’ve been brainstorming and creating for months now, and I think it’s time to finally take the plunge. Much like this portfolio site, I am encouraged knowing that it is all a work in progress.
  4. Learn & grow. OK, so this is a bit vague, and I intend to break it down into actionable steps (i.e., take a class in video editing, research small business taxes), but in general, I want to keep the momentum I’ve found in the last couple years. I am grateful to have a day job that supports me, provides great health insurance and benefits, but I’d love to start pursuing freelance opportunities to expand my skills.

What are your goals this year—design or otherwise?