Black & White Studios 2018 Highlights & 2019 Plans

Black & White Studios 2018 Highlights & 2019 Plans


Today is my first day back at work for 2019 after two weeks off for the holidays and over the break I’ve been trying to take the time to reflect on what the first full year of Black & White Studios was like, as well as thinking forwards about how I want to step into 2019.

Since I generally suck at looking back and appreciating how far I’ve come or where I am in the present, I wanted to take a moment and briefly share with you the highlights from 2018, and also talk a little bit about my plans for Black & White Studios in 2019 so that you can come along for the ride, so let’s get stuck in!


  • I started vlogging again! I was sharing my life as a freelance designer/business owner and I loved getting back into it! Unfortunately it didn’t last too long because I got caught up in the throws of running a business for the first time and it all got a bit much but I was stoked to get back into it and give it another go! I am happy to announce though that the videos are coming back in full force this year so you can head to my personal channel for upcoming vlogs and updates on running a design business, or to the Black & White Studios channel for content about branding and design.



  • I had the pleasure of being part of another wildly talented and inspirational friend, Ariel’s launch of her literary magazine, Platen! I created the visual identity and initial magazine concepts and it was so much fun! As you’ll see, I’ve since worked with Ariel a bunch of times and this was the start of it all!

  • I also created a logo and some graphics for Collateral, the new podcast from Lateral Magazine which I was so excited to see launch in March!


  • Prepair is seriously the definition of my ideal client and I’m obsessed with everything that Irene and the team do to help young women around New Zealand and the world. In April I was blown away by the opportunity to work with them for the first time to create a booklet about emotional abuse to be used in Prepair workshops and alongside other collateral.



  • Black & White Studios had its first podcast appearance when I joined Ariel on her podcast to talk about the process of creating the visual identity for Platen!

  • Dreams really do come true, because I got to work with Prepair for a second time and was so excited to see their pins released and sold out! I created the backing cards for the pins to be attached to and sold and it was so much fun for such a worthy cause!



  • In June, I started a three-month, full-time contract with Wellington City Council, working with an amazing team to create a variety of designs for our city, ranging from small stickers, to huge wall vinyls! I learnt so much, tried so many new things, met some incredible team-mates and created some fun designs that I’m so proud of and are a blast to see up and around Wellington!



  • In August I had tonsillitis, so not much to report in this month, sorry! I survived though, so I guess that’s a highlight!


  • In September I co-hosted a lettering workshop with Aaron Baxendine for The Design Kids Wellington which is always one of my fave things to do!!

  • During my time at the Wellington City Council, I collaborated with a colleague and friend, Isaac, on some illustrations that would be used in the Spring edition of Our Wellington and it was printed and distributed in September to every household in Wellington! It was so much fun to do and such an exciting moment to see them in print!

  • I also made some desktop backgrounds that you can download for free! I’ve always wanted to do this, so I finally did! I currently have the YAS and Today is the Day ones on my screens!


  • Oh my goodness was October a big month! Most importantly, I celebrated one year of running Black & White Studios full time! I celebrated with lots of thank you messages to my clients, friends and family, a small partaaay with my friends, and a showreel (again by the wonderful Karleshia) of my work from the past year!

  • While all that was going on, October also saw the launch of the website I created for Ethos!

  • I also told you that I worked with Ariel again, and in October, our second partnership, this time on the rebrand of Reading Rush (formerly the BookTube-A-Thon) was launched with a crowdfunding campaign which was fully funded!!




  • Yet another collaboration with Ariel saw the launch of her serialized story, Hecate, and the cover that I created for the book! You can read a new chapter of Hecate on Wattpad every two weeks – how cool?!

  • Speaking of Ariel, the visual identity I created for Platen was featured in Design Assembly’s Fresh From the Field blog series which I’m so grateful for!

  • To cap off the year, I got four new tattoos, one of which is the ampersand from the Black & White Studios logo! I wanted to acknowledge the achievement of surviving my first year as a full-time freelancer/business owner and remember this time in my life, plus I just love a good ampersand, so here we are!

So, those are the highlights from this year! Obviously, there were some lowlights too, I’m not going to lie to you. I started off the year in a whole bunch of debt from my last job not paying me; I really didn’t get the hang of cashflow for a long time, so there were some weeks where no money came in, and others where loads did and I really struggled to get a handle on my finances because of that; I basically took any type of work that I could to get paid and figure out what I wanted to do; I tried a bunch of things that didn’t work; Instagram really stressed me out; and a whole lot more. The thing is though, I’ve overcome and learnt from all of these things and I’m going into 2019 with a lot more clarity, intention and passion so I can’t wait to hit the ground running!

In 2019 you’re going to see a significant niche down into branding if you haven’t already noticed! It’s what I really love to do and what I think suits Black & White Studios the best for now.  I’ll still be doing more general graphic design around that for my clients in order to create full visual identities, and hand lettering and typography will always be a part of me and my brand, they’re just used more as part of the branding experience and my own visual identity.

Some of the hand lettering, illustration and experimental work of mine has been moved over to @byholliearnett to create some clarity and distinction from Black & White Studios, so don’t worry, if you’re still after that, you can follow me there!

As part of the focus on branding, I’m super excited to rejig my services to clarify what I offer and add some other options which will be coming in Quarter 1, and there will be a lot more educational content coming through the blog and YouTube channel, as well as some specific educational pieces in Quarter 2!

It’s going to be a fun year and I’m so thankful to have you here reading this and joining me on this crazy Black & White Studios journey! I’d love to hear your highlights from 2018 and what you’re looking forward to this year, and if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see from Black & White Studios, please let me know! As always I’ll be replying to comments so feel free to pop one below!


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Happy Holidays from Black & White Studios!

Happy Holidays from Black & White Studios!