Studio Updates

Black & White Studios 2019 Highlights & 2020 Plans

2019 was a strange year for me. It was my second year running my business full-time so I’d had enough time to figure out what I wanted to do with Black & White Studios, but wasn’t quite there yet. There was a lot of change, some big shifts, and a whole lot of challenges.

As we approached the end of 2019 and started thinking about 2020, I was honestly pretty exhausted and not feeling the most positive about the year that had been. It all felt like a mess, a lot of things hadn’t been as successful as I’d hoped, and I’d worked harder than ever.

In the midst of all this, I remembered the 2018 Highlights & 2019 Plans blog post that I wrote at the beginning of this year, and decided to scroll through the photos on my phone and see what 2019 had looked like. To my surprise, there was a lot more to be proud of than I had initially thought. The year might not have looked like I had hoped, but in an aim to combat my futurist tendencies, live more in the moment, and be grateful for the experiences I’ve had, I’m sharing Black & White Studios’ highlights from 2019!

*Note: I know that reading someone else’s achievements can be a negative experience for some. Please don’t continue if it’s going to make you feel overwhelmed or upset, I won’t be offended! And be aware that this is an intention curation of highlights to help me focus on the positives, so the negative parts aren’t included. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t any and everything was easy peasy lemon squeezy – there were and it wasn’t. So if you’re feeling disappointed in your 2019, or found it difficult, know that you’re not alone.

January

  • After reading Traction as part of the Strategy Academy book club, I started using the techniques to manage my business, and it changed everything! I found a structure that works for me and helps me stay on top of things in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. I’ll 100% be using it again this year!
  • I had the honour of spending time with my friend Charli Prangley while she was back in NZ and we filmed a collab video for her channel all about Freelance Design Business Tips!

March

April

Julia Rose Logo Redesign

Julia Rose Logo Redesign

Below the Kowhai Branding
Black & White Studios Free Desktop Backgrounds

May

  • After working in my bedroom and taking over various local cafes on the regular, I finally took the leap and moved into Sunday Night Club, a shared creative studio, and I’m SO happy that I did! It’s my new favourite place. You can watch the tour here!
  • This month Black & White Studios launched an opt-in for the first time, the Ultimate Branding Checklist! I’m still so proud of it, and over 65% of my email subscribers have come from this one, free resource! You can watch the launch process here!
  • I had the amazing opportunity to speak at Banter & Brews for the second time, this time on a panel of incredible women discussing the design community and sharing about local meetups.
  • I returned to my UX/UI roots this month and designed a landing page for ConvertKit’s Free Landing Page Builder. Last time I checked, the Stark landing page was the most popular template! (I’ve since designed more landing page templates for ConvertKit too!)
Sunday Night Club

Sunday Night Club

The Ultimate Branding Checklist
ConvertKit's Stark Landing Page Template

June

  • June was my favourite month of this year because I went on my first solo trip overseas and went to the US for the first time! I stopped in San Francisco on my way to ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce Conference in Boise, Idaho! You can watch my vlog of the trip here! I learnt so much, had so much fun, and met the most amazing people – best trip ever!
  • Black & White Studios had the pleasure of working with The Heart School to create and launch a whole new identity. The Heart School do such beautiful work and it was an honour to be a small part of their journey. You can read the Design Debrief for this project here.
  • Another wonderful project with ConvertKit was launched, the Email Marketing Guide. I worked on the illustrations, graphics and layout of the guide, and am currently working with them on a new one!

July

  • July was a busy month, starting with Brent Galloway’s brand launch! Black & White Studios worked with Brent on brand strategy and copywriting, which was a wonderful combination with the new identity and website he designed! You can read his recap of the process here!
  • After creating a resource for my clients to include with their deliverables, I launched the Logo Format Guide free to everyone. This opt-in hasn’t been as successful as my Ultimate Branding Checklist, but I haven’t pushed it as hard, using it more as a content upgrade on logo-related blog posts, and I’m still super proud of it!
  • My first podcast guest spot of the year was on the Open Lab podcast! We discussed the Life of a Freelancer.
  • To bring a community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs together, I launched the Black & White Studios Society, my free Facebook group.
  • I worked with my friends Charli and Fem to design a hand-lettered enamel pin for the podcast, DesignLife.fm.
  • I had the honour of being invited to speak at TradeMe to share my Make Your Mark branding framework with the creative team.
  • I also spoke at the Unicorn Factory Freelancer Meetup, sharing my Make Your Mark branding framework and the process I use with my clients.

August

September

  • After deciding to shift my business, I launched my signature programme, Make Your Mark! The launch didn’t go quite as expected, but I learnt SO much from the process, identified how to improve my offers, and planned to relaunch in 2020. This launch marked a huge milestone in my business and I'm proud of myself for even launching at all!
  • To help kick my social game up a notch, I joined Amie Finlayson’s Social Selling Society and have been using her knowledge to improve things ever since. You can tell me if you think it’s working!

October

  • October was a busy one because alongside Black & White Studios, I did a six-week full-time contract at the IRD. It was an amazing experience working with great people on really interesting projects, but man was I sleepy at the end of it all!
  • Among all of that, my wonderful clients Outrun Creatives launched the new brand and identity that Black & White Studios created! They have one of the favourite colour palettes I’ve ever designed so I love it!
  • Speaking of Outrun Creatives, in October I had several photoshoots with Rebecca to create a new suite of brand photographs for Black & White Studios.
  • And most excitingly, in October Black & White Studios turned 2!!
Outrun Creatives Branding

Outrun Creatives Branding

Outrun Creatives Brand Photoshoot

November

  • In November I made the difficult decision to step down as Wellington host of Design Assembly. I LOVE Design Assembly and had the best time being part of it, but I need to focus my time, energy and attention on Black & White Studios, my clients and my students. As such, I hosted my last event this month and handed the reins over to the wonderful Jenn Hadley!
  • This month, I ran an in-person workshop at Smashed Avocados to test the content for my upcoming online course, the On-Brand Instagram. It was a lot of fun and I got a lot of great feedback for the course!

December

  • And finally, just before the end of the year, the On-Brand Instagram launched! After a long time planning, writing, creating, filming and promoting, it all came to life in December and resulted in Black & White Studios’ first course sales! What a way to end the year!

Like I said, 2019 felt a bit all over the show, but looking back I can see where it was all leading to, and how it all came together in the end. After reflecting on all of this, I am even more excited for 2020 and can’t wait to see what it has in store!

Speaking of which, my word for 2020 is REFINE. 2019’s word was CLARITY, and after clarifying what it is that I want to do and setting up the foundation for this to come to fruition, this coming year is all about refining that. My plan is to refine my brand, offers, and content, and make Black & White Studios the go-to place for all your branding needs! I’m still working on the specifics of all of this as I put my 2020 plan into place, but it’s going to be a goodie!

Hollie stands resting her hands on the white desk behind her, wearing a black t-shirt tucked into orange pants and clear glasses, and smiling into the camera.

by hollie arnett

The brand coach for creatives, hand-lettering artist for herself, and cup of tea lover forever.

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