I think it is fair to say that most of us will be glad when 2021 arrives. I want to send a warm ac4designs welcome to one and all. The continuing COVID pandemic continues to provide a rather bleak outlook as I currently write this. We can only be hopeful that the next twelve months allow a return to all those things we have missed.
Wish upon a…
I will be ‘wishing upon a star’ that cricket will return and that I will be able to enjoy playing and coaching soon. Despite 2020 being the strangest period I have lived through. A year that has been challenging and difficult for so many, not everything about our experience should be seen negatively. I recognise that for many, this year has been very hard, and may continue to be so heading into 2021. There has been however much to learn about ourselves and perhaps what really matters. My hope is that as we don’t simply return to the mad and sometimes unhealthy world that existed before COVID. That we refresh the things we have missed and are good. But fight hard not to mindlessly slip back into the bad old habits of work and behaviour that were never that great in the first place.
ac4designs was able to continue to provide freelance services throughout 2021. I am pleased to have helped loyal existing clients and to connect (albeit virtually) with some new business and organisations. As always my aim has been to provide clear, honest, no fuss help and advice.
I guess no one could have been prepared fully for the impact of the COVID pandemic. Back when lockdown began I sort of assumed that ac4designs helping business would end. That the work would dry up and probably not return.
I was luckier than many, as my second job, ac4designs wasn’t the financial heartbeat of the family. I, like so many, am grateful for the government’s furlough scheme from my main employment. Thus I quickly decided that I had no reason to claim twice and that I would leave ac4designs open for business. During those first weeks of lockdown things certainly went very quiet. But then slowly things started to turn again as some businesses adjusted and begun to look to survive. As the lockdown eased others began to address what the ‘new normal’ meant for them.
Throughout I ensured I stuck to my part-time working hours, not difficult with homeschooling during the day to contend with. This has also helped in coping with the return to the day job. Like many, I also took some time to stop, reflect, and spend time with the family — there were some positives from this experience.
The strangest of times for helping business
2020 is certainly the strangest I have had on this planet so far and if I’m honest I have been very lucky and have to date remained relatively unaffected. I can only clap and thanks those who stood on the front line and helped keep all of us safe, with all my heart.
And ac4designs is still here and continues helping business and the community. Recent months have seen a range of project undertaken to support existing and new businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic created issues for us all. Many local businesses and community groups suddenly found they needed to create or improve their online presence. I have enjoyed helping several in recent months.
Delivering online connections
Brown’s Motorcycles wanted a simple and clean website update to help promote the business.Teaming up with AlFindlay.com we were able to deliver an effective site with the potential to explore online sales of bikes moving forward.
The COVID-19 lockdown also created issues for local community groups. Stripped of the ability to connect in person many lacked effective online mechanisms. As such, this meant they struggled to achieve effective communications during the imposed lockdown. I am therefore particularly pleased in helping the local community magazine The Tipton Times. Helping to establishing an online delivery mechanism for its normally traditionally printed local community news stories.
Relaunching after lockdown
As the COVID lockdown began to ease there was the opportunity to help several businesses prepare to restart.
White Rabbit Discos was keen to relaunch with a new identity. The challenges created by the impact of COVID-19 meant they needed to standout. The identity has already had a positive impact and work continues in developing the business website and marketing support material.
Pride Hair Studio had more practical needs as the potential to reopen the business loomed. This included posters to help inform customers of the new operating rules before they entered the premises. As well as a disclaimer form to ensure that customers accepted the risks of their visit. Helping this hardworking team at a difficult time was rewarding and exactly the sort of working relationship ac4designs seeks to develop with he businesses it helps.
During these COVID driven projects regular clients continuing to operate and need help. ac4designs continued to provide effective support during difficult times for everyone.
Helping old friends
LTP launched several new products during the lockdown period. LTP Ferrex was the latest addition to the LTP family of stone cleaning products. A specialist rust remover this product is designed for hard ferrous stones – like sandstone, slate, and granite. These stones naturally contain iron that can oxidise or rust when it comes into contact with moisture, rain, or certain cleaning products, including brick acid and cement removers. Ferrex removes rust, fixing residues, and it provides rust resistance. Find out more at https://www.ltp-online.co.uk/prod/ltp-ferrex
The COVID demand for sanitising cleaners also created an opportunity for LTP 75% Alcohol Ethanol Multi-surface Cleaner to join the extensive range of LTP products. Responding quickly and effectively is exactly what ac4designs is all about so this project really sums up the whole ethos nicely. As things have begun to return to the ‘new normal’ promoting the LTP brand has never been more important. The final project showcased here is a more traditional large format advertising banner. Visible from the M3 near Reading, this project seems to capture the ac4designs philosophy of working locally but thinking nationally in helping business perfectly.
To find out how ac4designs could help your business or community group then please get in touch via my contact page.
Being a Graphic Designer is all I wanted from the age of 14, once the reality of not being a professional sportsman was accepted (it never really has). To be honest, I had no real idea what that meant, but it seemed cool and well paid. In recent years I have questioned that devotion. Despite a 25 year career doing something I love, events of recent years challenged me in ways I never expected. Forcing me to question why I do what I do.
Thankfully, due to the support of those closest to me, I found a path. I changed my relationship with what I do. I took a different approach to work, accepting a role in doing something completely different, in a very different environment. This entirely positive experience has empowered me and reset my perspective. It also created a whole new set of friends.
My relationship with Graphic Design has survived I am glad to say. But my relationship with it has also changed. I continue to freelance for selected clients as I always have. Doing this part-time has set me free once again to love what I do.
Finding my love of all things graphic
At the heart of this reconnection is an inner desire to set free graphics from within free of commercial constraints (but perhaps influenced by them).
At my lowest point, I produced my first piece of graphic art entitled Thoughts. It helped me remember who I was and to make sense of the jumble the brain can make of the world around us. Is it good? Does it matter? The answers really aren’t that important.
So in this strange time of Covid-19, I have produced my second piece, Boxed in. We can all feel boxed in at times, even when it may seem to others to be very different! Covid-19 has trapped us all in very different ways since it arrived, some good, some bad. But we will survive and find a way, just as I have.
Announcing the latest development for ac4designs. 2019 sees me partnering with www.alfindlay.com to provide graphic support to Al and his team. Ac4designs will be supporting alfindlay.com on website development and general business promotion.
Working with businesses in the local community is an integral part of the ac4designs philosophy. To achieve this, I look to work locally but think national. With the aim of building links with like-minded businesses that want to deliver the very best service. Al Findlay and his team are a business that truly believes this to be true. I look forward to working across a range of projects as we move towards 2020.
Working with the local community is vitally important to me. Ensuring I use my skills to help the community in which I live as well as the wider world is a must.
Local bees matter
When local beekeeper Jenifer Tucker ask for some help to sell her honey, I was only pleased to help out. The welfare of our local bee populations is something we should all be concerned about, so helping Jenifer make her small hobby business viable by helping her package and sell a small number of honeypots every year was very rewarding.