Ah, it’s finally 2017. Isn’t it funny how we remark about how fast a year has gone by once October rolls around? I personally go through those motions every year.

However, this past October, I stopped thinking about 2016 and started thinking about the future of my brand.

For a good month and a half, I struggled to imagine what my future as a lettering artist looked like.

All of this thinking led me to spiral into a brand identity crisis.

This is my first post of 2017. I want to share with you the details of this crisis, how I overcame my struggles, and to tell you about the new direction I’ll be taking this year.

My Brand Identity Crisis

I started lettering several years ago as a fun way to kill time. But it wasn’t until 2015 I decided lettering was more than just a small side-hobby.

I spent countless hours practicing my craft. I taught myself new styles and experimented with every tool I could get my hands on. I worked hard, but to me it wasn’t work — it was fun.

But I was thinking bigger.

  • I wanted to share my work and my learnings.
  • I wanted to teach and inspire younger artists.
  • I wanted to connect with others and become part of this lettering subculture.
  • I wanted to offer my services to clients who cared about their brands.

Fast forward to this past October.

I had spent a year curating lettering work, case studies, and building a reputation as a professional artist capable of positioning my client’s brands for success.

In a way, I had accomplished what I set out to do. Clients were interested in work. Followers were interested in learning.

Everything was fantastic… until I realized that the work I was doing no longer interested me.

I had strayed from the calligraphy I had fallen in love with in the first place. Instead, my focus was all over the place between client logos, intricate lettering pieces, and font-development.

I didn’t want to continue in the same direction I was going. But the problem was that I had spent so much time and effort creating content around client work and the professional services I offered.

Could I really just abandon the type of work I was doing to focus on the kind of work I had been curating for months?

I was torn. If I continue doing what I’m doing, I won’t be happy. If I change what I’m doing… well isn’t that a cop-out? Won’t I confuse or disappoint my audience?

The Clarity I Found…

…didn’t come overnight. I suffered weeks of internal dialogue with the voices in my head. I had countless conversations with friends, colleagues, and other professionals about my struggles.

Everyone had different bits of advice to offer. But they all had one thing in common: “follow your heart”.

I was overlooking the single aspect of what drives me the most; the work itself. So I took a step back and thought about the work I would be doing if I wasn’t so pre-occupied with building an online presence, working with clients, or blogging every week.

I started by writing all of my thoughts and feelings in a long-winded stream of consciousness. This was one of the last paragraphs I wrote:

On any given day, you’ll find me sitting in my studio with a Pilot Parallel working on sharp gothic letterforms. Or you’ll find me working on big canvas with large chiseled markers splattering paint all over abstracted calligraffiti-style patterns.

In a way, this says it all.

Looking back, this all feels so stupid and trivial. However, this was quite the struggle for me. Once I discovered the kind of work I want to focus on going forward, I realized just how much of my own advice I never take.

In a recent post, I wrote:

“You might be afraid of working towards something you end up not wanting to do. Here’s the truth: you will. But it will not be wasted effort. It simply becomes the road you need to take in order to get on the road to your desired destination. You’ll find yourself pivoting here and there. You might even completely change directions at one point. But no matter what, it’s forward momentum. If you progress forward, you won’t have regrets.”

So there you have it; I’m pivoting.

What You Can Expect from Me in 2017

This new direction will allow me to focus on the work that inspires me the most. And most important, it is going to allow me to serve my audience with a clearer focus.

My primary goals involve:

  • Producing artwork in MY favorite styles of calligraphy
  • Teaching other artists via digital content and in workshops.
  • Selling products in the form of prints, apparel, and digital assets.

Along with the next chapter of my brand, you’ll see some changes around the site:

Blogging

I’ll continue blogging weekly in 2017, but I’ve said all I have to say in regards to client process, life-hacking, and goal-setting.

From now on, you can expect more of what you’re here for — lettering.

I’ll be publishing more tutorial posts, videos, and even downloads to aid you in your calligraphy progress.

I’ve also begun interviewing some of the most talented artists I know in hopes to celebrate other artist’s work. I’m really excited to share some of these folks work with you.

Online Store

I’m excited to announce my online store (coming early 2017). I’ll be starting with prints but I also plan to expand into digital assets like e-books and downloadable guides as well as physical goods.

If there’s something you’d like to see, I’m all ears! Shoot me a message.

Client Projects & Commissions

I’ll still accept client work, but finding will not be my primary focus. If my niche work suits the criteria of a brand, then I will follow the same client process I always have.

Additionally, I will be accepting commissions for my artwork as well selling originals in my online store.

Conclusion

Pursuit of happiness should be the primary goal in your life. Determining what that is will not always be easy. But the struggle is worth it.

I’m more excited for the future than I ever have been. I hope you are too. Best wishes in 2017!