Side Projects

  • Posted in: Thoughts
  • On: 2 February 2021

Over my 20+ creative career where I have run my own studio, driven digital integration at agencies and built in-house design teams, the one thing that I have always done, is had a little side project or two in order to keep myself from being totally engrossed in the day-to-day work that I do to pay the bills.

Few have materialised into much more than projects that get old and not worth my time, gathering dust or forgotten about completely. Hardly any have thankfully cost me more than my time and effort.

Almost all ideas have started with a branding exercise, playing into my wheelhouse, but giving me the opportunity to explore skills I hardly get to flex in my regular job. This I believe has been part of my growth and essential for understanding new forms of design, and the opportunity to get my hands dirty.

You see, over the past 12+ years, I’ve mostly been in a leadership role, somewhat of. a conductor of sorts, pointing creative types and clients in some sort of direction.

One of my strengths as a leader is my ability to empathise with the people who play instruments so to speak due to my side projects which push me to still make stuff.

I am moody like an artist, honestly I can’t just create on a whim, I go through cycles based on whats going on in my life, but nothing grabs my attention quicker than a new exciting opportunity. I often joke with one of my former creative directors that everything needs a logo, domain name and social media handle. We are quick to start coming up with designs for everything, from sour dough bread side hustles to friends jewellery businesses. I almost can’t help myself.

Of course, it’s not all design, I was a partner in a bar, a corporate gamification platform, a poker business, and an alternative food production startup. There seems to always be something on the side.

I think having side projects, be they be for financial gain or just to flex your muscles outside of your usual shtick. It will give you an opportunity to use other parts of your brain and allow you to roll up your sleeves once again and make something again.