For the first time last year, instead of making new year’s resolutions, I set some goals that I wanted to achieve during 2017. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really check back on my goals very often. Most of my goals did centre around my career; making that full transition into design and my own personal side-projects. My number one goal was a pretty big deal for me so it wasn’t the kind of thing I’d need to remind myself of.
Last year was the first time I ever set myself goals for the year. Not only that, but I at the end of the year, I actually went and looked back on them. I felt as though I was realistic about my goals and not over-optimistic. This is something I want to continue doing each year.
A look back on my 2017 goals…
Be a “UX Designer”
My first and main goal of 2017 was to be a UX Designer… and I did it! In September, I left my previous job and started a new job at a new company, with the word “design” in my job title. I am now a Senior UX Designer.
There has always been elements of design in my job. I worked for a few years as a UI Team Lead, which was a primarily a developer role but with a strong design focus. After that I moved to another role, that I hoped would allow me to transition into design… and I think that in a way, it did. But for various reasons, the job couldn’t give me what I really wanted, and that was a 100% proper design role at a company that had a design culture, and a passionate design team that really cared about the little details. I think I have found this in my new role.
I’m really enjoying my new job, and I’m hoping that it allows me to grow as a designer quicker than ever before.
In Mid-March 2016 I started this blog, and in those almost-three quarters of the year, I published six blog posts. One almost every month. Not too bad. I wanted to ramp this up for 2017 (while still being realistic) and write a blog post every month.
I did 2 - and that was including the post in which I actually set the goal. I half-wrote four blog posts (which are still sitting in my “drafts” folder), that are now pretty out-dated. I found it difficult to find the time to write, and when I did, the I found it difficult to write anything that I’d want to post. Not even close on this one.
Launch my first client website.
Check! I did this one too! This was actually the first goal I achieved. I started designing the site in November or December 2016 and I launched it a few months later in February. It’s only a single page website, but I was really pleased with it.
The site is http://llionrobertson.com. Please check it out! 😉
Level-Up my design skills
This one is an “ish”; I kinda improved my design skills (I think!). Although I wasn’t able to work the entire way through either The Sketch Handbook or The Affinity Designer Workbook, my now daily use of Sketch has allowed me to become more proficient in its use. I still feel that I need to improve my general skills in UI design; use of colour and typography, layouts, and creating better iconography.
One thing I did do better this year, is post more shots on Dribbble. Last year I posted two shots, and this year I posted six. Still not great, but at least it’s an improvement!
I had quite a quiet year travel-wise. Unfortunately, the travel opportunities that could’ve been didn’t pan out during my previous job.
Usually, we would take a couple of city breaks for a few days somewhere in Europe. The thing about city breaks is that although they are fun, there is usually a lot of things to do and cram in such a small space of time. It’s not always the most interesting trip for my three year-old girl, so this year we had a super relaxing family holiday for a week in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It was the perfect place to relax by the pool and there was plenty of things for the little one to do.
My team in my new job is based in the heart of San Francisco, so in November last year I visited the city for the second time on a work trip to meet the team for the first time and to attend a Design Summit. It was awesome to experience working in a big city like San Francisco, especially as it is a hub for established tech companies and startups. It was a great place to finish off the year.
My goals for 2018
This year, I would like to be realistic again, and hopefully achieve all these goals.
1. Rethink / Redesign this site
I’d like to work out what to do with this site. Before today, I hadn’t updated it for a long time; almost a year. I want to update the site more frequently, change the design a little and update it to a newer version of Jekyll. I struggle to find time to sit down and write (I’m writing this on my iPhone in front of the TV), and think of topics to write about. I may just have to think about writing mini-posts, maybe without “Hero” illustrations. I will probably remove my photo gallery, as I haven’t updated it (ever), and just keep this site as a blog.
It would be a shame to give it up, as I do enjoy writing when I have the time (even though I’m really bad at it). I’ve even seen the number of visitors increase over the last year. My blog post about building a photo gallery using Jekyll drove the most people to my site.
2. Patent a design
My new job encourages everyone to patent designs, and I finished 2017 with one idea still needing a lot of work, and another smaller-scale idea looking like it might be a viable patentable idea. Fingers crossed!
3. Keep a Bullet Journal
There is a design YouTube channel that I subscribe to, and one of the videos that was posted on it last year was about Bullet Journaling.
There is something about keeping a physical handwritten journal that interested me, in today’s world of apps like Day One, and Momento (I paid for both, and almost never use them). I keep it on my desk and write in there when I need to. It hardly takes any time to use. I’ve only been doing it for a week so far, but I definitely see how it can help you focus on what’s really important and make you more productive.
4. Design an icon set
In the four months I’ve been in my new role, I’ve seen an icon set that a designer on my new team produced for a product, and they were pretty awesome. The cleanness, and the pixel accuracy were really impressive.
I’ve been wanting to improve my skills in this area for a while, and I’m going to need to put together icons for myself for the product I’m working on. So for practice, and maybe to give away for free, I’m going to produce an icon set of my own.
5. Travel somewhere new
This year, I would like to travel somewhere that I haven’t been before. I’ve never experienced East Asia, and this year, I’d like to go somewhere like Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia. Or maybe somewhere in the Middle East like Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Or maybe Canada. Wherever we go, I’d like to make sure that my little daughter is safe and has fun.
A short city break would also be fun. There is a route from our local airport in Cardiff that goes to Munich that looks tempting.
I haven’t got a “main” goal this year. After a lot of hard work, I have finally found a job that I really enjoy and am excited to learn more about. I think if I can continue to learn and grow as a designer, produce some really good design at work and for personal projects, I will be happy.
And again, for anyone reading this, I hope you achieve your goals for 2018 and have a great new year. :-)