A Festive Virtual Hug

It’s that time of year again…  the magic season that brings us together… the Christmas rush, the festive cheer… Although it hasn’t been. 2020, you’ve been rubbish. Still, that didn’t stop us from doing a yearly review. Here goes 2020 in our words:

2020: The year of the pandemic perspective

2020 has been a turbulent year for the world. We have realised how fragile humanity is; the gaps have widened even more between communities and it has highlighted ever more so how much there is still to do.

 

Despite the challenges, it has been a year of hope, positive protests, solidarity and togetherness. We have connected more in our local communities than ever, we have had to sit with our own challenging thoughts and experiences and we have had to look inwards for resilience. I have been made aware more than ever of my privileges and being grateful for what I have whilst also being clouded with guilt because of it. I have had wellbeing wobbles and learnt the importance of good habits. The pandemic has been a big strain on us as individuals, as well as micro organisations. But, it has also given us reflection and opportunity to change and grow.

 

The organisations that have thrived are those that are agile, small and purpose first. The organisations built around people, resilience, passion and grit. The brands pushing purpose and people, not product, have been well ahead of the corporate product-driven-output-result driven enterprises. But, finally, those enterprises and the world are catching up. This year has meant you can’t hide. From the likes of Patagonia to Toms, to local charities and grassroots orgs this past year has really shone a light on the ones that genuinely care about giving back.

 

For Sail, 2020 has been a rollercoaster, we moved into a new studio with Crystallised just before lockdown, and Kat joined the team full-time just before lockdown. With all challenges aside, we have continued to be small but fierce and work harder than ever throughout the pandemic. We opted out of any furlough schemes for various reasons including morals and ethics (ask us in a year if that was a stupid move). We have continued to work putting wellbeing first, maintaining daily communication sharing ideas, memes and thoughts to keep our spirits up, and all have taken a well needed holiday when we can. I cannot genuinely thank Kat, Danni and our associate collaborators enough. Absolutely epic humans.

 

Challenges and barriers aside, it has opened up some amazing opportunities for Sail and our work. We have won some dream clients including our first theatre, two big cultural venues, a festival, a philanthropic funder, clients that are literally going to change the world of plastic and construction, worked internationally in Mexico and LA and are ever growing our national client base in London. We have spoken at the Creative Industries Federation, the Munster School of German Design, York Design week, radio shows with Star and Shadow and are doing associate lecturing on Design Activism at London College of Communication.

What will 2021 hold?

Early 2021 will see us gain accreditation as a BCorporation (we are just going through the scrutinous process), exploring business models and new beginnings, and have some exciting collaborations in the pipeline including immersive design around breaking gender stereotypes, wellbeing in the workplace and a mental health campaign.

 

And I hope, I really hope, for time with family and friends, back to experiencing live culture, evenings in the pub, days out and live music. And I really hope that the importance of community, solidarity and people are kept at the forefront of humanity. We need change. We need to do more.

 

And for 2021, I know I need to go easier on myself. I’m posting a link to Alain De Bottons manifesto as a reflective reminder: https://wepresent.wetransfer.com/story/manifesto-alain-de-botton/

 

Well done everyone, for getting through the shitshow of 2020. We did it. And we got Trump out. Now go enjoy that well deserved crate of wine/gin/Yorkshire tea and put yer feet up.

POW! Have that in your face 2020!

Now don’t get me wrong, despite my flippancy towards the dreaded year of doom, I am aware that everything I am about to say here comes from a HUGE place of privilege. I am one of the very fortunate ones who not only has a splendid position at Sail, but also I do the type of work where I get to sit comfortably at my computer, in my nice warm home, roof firmly over my head and a brew by my side (could maybe do without the cats butt making zoom cameos, but you can’t have it all). I am well aware that so many have hit really hard times this year and not one of us could possibly see it coming.

 

That said, despite the general feeling of existential dread, the isolation, missing my family, the impact on my own mental health and the loss of personal freedom this year has presented, so many amazing things happen. This seems to have given me a bit of a competitive edge. It’s been a battle of wills between a disabling pandemic and new found sense of resilience that has so far meant 2020 lost (trying hard not to believe in tempting fate here).

 

Personally speaking it has made me appreciate what I have in my life and what I miss too. Professional speaking it’s connected us to people in new and interesting ways, it’s made our small team of three stronger and even more supportive, it’s made me more reflective and self aware and it has been very affirming in that I love and appreciate the work that I do.

Zoom calls have become a daily norm now and as much as zoom fatigue is very real, and or course I’d be much happier together in a room with people, this in itself has thrown up some really heart warming moments. Conversations with clients about how we are feeling and checking in with each other, reaching out and sharing our experiences which draws us away from the task at hand to momentarily bond and a particularly nice moment was a workshop with young adult carers on zoom who took time from their busy caring roles to sit and draw together whist chatting away on screen about their day from their homes. These moments may not have existed is it wasn’t for the situation we find ourselves in.

 

See because here at Sail, we talk about positive change a lot, but this year has got me thinking that it doesn’t always need to be a big statement, sometimes it’s the little differences and changes in our behaviour that creates a positive shift. So on top of tons of exciting projects we have worked on throughout the year, a solid team and a bundle of learned resilience I am most grateful for the community we are surrounded with at Sail and for those moments that affirmed how lucky I am.

 

Wishing everyone a connected, warm and hopeful festive break.

2020: A year in review

What a year… would not recommend.

I thought 2020 was going to be my year (insert eyeroll here). It started pretty strong: birthday, new job – a career, solid income, fresh new studio excitement, networking, an extra day in February….and then we spent the rest of the year stuck in March. Now, 5 years later we’re only in December.

 

My heart goes out to those that have really struggled, the loss of jobs, the loss of family members, friends, income and stability, poverty, long working hours, the deterioration of mental health – added stress. The world seems on its last legs.

 

For me, and dare I say it, I’m extremely lucky and fortunate enough that it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve kept my job working for Sail, and although the grass is always greener (yes, I’m eyeballing the furloughed), I’m doing ok, I recognise the privilege I have.

 

Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some wobbles – anxiety meltdowns, low moods, unhealthy lifestyle. (Is exercise even a word?) Like many I’ve felt trapped and barely left my house. However, for me, 2020 has also been a year of learning and reflection.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • People come together in times of need
  • Culture and community are everything; my inspiration, my education, my well-being
  • Not to take others for granted
  • I have a small close-knit trustworthy bubble, and I would never trade it
  • Our team and clients are lush
  • I’m very fortunate
  • Helping others is important
  • Boundaries are so important
  • Ditch the words ‘mustn’t’ and ‘shouldn’t’
  • Don’t feel guilty for past mistakes, look forward not back
  • Therapy is the best thing to happen to me this year
  • Overworking should not be glamorized
  • Stop judging others for how they act/cope in lockdown (people need to put themselves first this year, and if that doesn’t fit with your expectations, it’s ok – revise your expectations)
  • To care about the quality life going forward (for both myself and all)
  • To reevaluate my aspirations
  • To be a better designer (WIP)
  • To give up on perfection (WIP)

 

Such realisations are going to set me up for a stronger 2021; and for that I’m grateful. I wish you all a lush Christmas, be good to one another. Bring on 2021, and hopefully maybe, I’ll see you then.

 

P.s  I’m with Jameela; if I see any 2021 ‘shed the lockdown weight’ ads I’ll explode.

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