At the end of June I leave the place I’ve worked at for 10 years to set up as an independent graphic designer.
D8 have always given me a huge degree of autonomy, but that’s not the same as being in control. I feel like my work’s better than it’s ever been, and I think the best is still ahead of me, but that work doesn’t necessarily fit so well inside a large company, which is what D8 became while we weren’t looking. It just took me a while to realise this.
A couple of years ago the Birmingham studio had a pretty disastrous time, and I was convinced Jim and Adrian were going to pull the plug. Up until that point I felt like I was in control, but the realisation that our family were so completely in the hands of others scared the shit out of me. I’ve gone through a period of lifestyle envy, directed towards erstwhile colleague David Coyle for the amount of time he gets to spend with his kids – I sometimes see mine for less than half an hour a day. I also had a bit of a health scare earlier this year, when I thought I’d put myself at risk because I’d been too busy to go to the doctor (thankfully nothing). This seems like the right thing to do, for more reasons than just my development as a designer. I see enough excellent designers struggling to get work to know I’m privileged to be in this position. All the more reason not to waste the chance.
Things haven’t always been perfect at D8, but I owe Jim and Adrian a lot. It showed a lot of faith to open a Birmingham studio when Ruth and me wanted to move here, and I’m not sure I’d even be a designer if I hadn’t joined them 10 years ago. There’s been no falling out, no ‘taking legal advice’. They still do great work, it’s just not the work I want to do anymore.
This could, of course, go horribly wrong, so I’m nervous. But also excited.
As a postscript, it also seems like time to let this blog go. I paused about a year ago and I haven’t really felt the urge to come back. I don’t think there’ll be anymore updates here, though there’ll probably be something else when I’ve worked out what that is. In the meantime, I’ll be here or here.