What's next for Leah Noble Design in 2017

Hello, friends,

I've got some news!

2017 is going to start off with a new job for me. It's within the same organization I've been working for for two and a half years, the Horizon Achievement Centre, in Sydney, NS. I'm going to be taking on the position of Job Developer/Trainer, for adults with intellectual disabilities in the CBRM (which is the clientele that Horizon serves). I'll be working with a small team of another Job Developer, and an Employment Counselor, both also relatively-young women like myself, to find work placements for Horizon's clients, as well as support them in their jobs. 

While I'm still passionate about graphic design, and about someday being self-employed, if I'm honest, I'm really excited about this shift in my career! 

It's a chance for me to learn lots of new stuff about the local labour market and business scene, as well as to do more to help people with disabilities reach their full potential (which is something I've become passionate about, because of working at Horizon these last two years). Not only that, but it's also a chance for me to practice Essentialism: Pick one thing and go all in on it. In other words: Make the most impact you can through one thing, rather than try and go in several directions at once. 

So (deep breath here!) that means I'm putting my business "on ice" for the next year. I haven't been very busy with it anyway, as I've been working full time for the last two years at Horizon, and haven't had much spare time. And to be honest, working full time and managing (or attempting to manage) a side job is a lot of work, and can be difficult. My personal and home life has felt uncomfortably squeezed these last two years while I juggled work, my wee business, and some volunteering, and I'm so ready to give it (my personal/home life, that is) more energy, attention and love. 

What this means for anyone who was hoping to hire me to do design work: Thank you for considering me for your project, but for the next year I'm not taking on new clients. Do feel free, though, to get in touch and I would be happy to recommend designers. 

What this means for this blog and for my website: Not too much will change, but I will be playing around with blogging more personal things and perhaps a bit more regularly. I also want to play with some personal creative projects, making things just for my own joy of making them, not for a client. I feel like this will make me want to blog more, actually!

So, I hope you'll continue to follow along with me and my journey. I'm so appreciative of your support, and interest. It means a great deal to me. 

With love, and wishing you peace and joy for the Holidays,
See you in 2017!

xo Leah

Thinking about...

... the New Year and what it might bring for me and my partner. There are new job possibilities, maybe adding a new family member (I mean, who knows, but it's in our minds!), friends getting married and places we want to travel to, and our home to tend to. I love the end-of-the-year-time, and am really feeling the pull this particular end-of-year to write, to journal, to look back at last year, and to think to the year ahead. To set some intentions. To cull out what is no longer serving me. 

...choosing a "one little word" to use as a guide in 2017. (But not signing up for another class or course to investigate it -- just doing my own thing with it.) I have been jotting down ideas for what that word might be, and once I settle on one, I'll share it here.

...what blogging means to me now. I started blogging in 2002 - that's sixteen years ago! Holy cats. I've blogged for so many different purposes (personal, business, travel, community, exposure, practice, joy, to name a few), and now I'm at a point where I am asking myself, "why do I blog?" There are some good reasons to do it (the excitement of sharing, it's a great creative medium, the joy and power of connecting with people around the world) and good reasons not to (privacy being the main one). I've been an obscure blogger and I've been a well-known blogger. Both have their pros and cons. I'm still mulling this one. But I think, judging on the fact that I came to a Draft Post box to write out my thoughts, that I'm still a fan. Just figuring out what I want to do with blogging now. 

...and, related to that, what this space online means to me now. I'm also mulling over making this URL host a personal blog again, and dismantling the business (such as it is; I work full-time at my job so this business hasn't really bloomed - or, I should say, I haven't had the time and energy to help it bloom, to tend to it). Part of me feels afraid to do this, like it means I'm giving up. But another part of me is excited about it. And it feels like that's what I should follow. 

...the question, "If you could only be excellent at one thing, what would it be?" My creative partner Emily Rankin and I were talking yesterday about the future of our Creative Soul Weekend retreat. It's a weekend by the sea for creative women that we have been organizing and running these last two years. Right now we're doing some deep-diving, some inward-work on it: Asking ourselves questions about why we do it, and where it's going, to then guide us for this coming year and the next few years. So this was one of the questions we asked ourselves. It comes from the book Essentialism, a book I'm very drawn to and try to apply to my life. And it's a toughie, because I (we?) want to be able to say we're good at lots of things. We want to be useful in many ways. But this question gets to the heart of Essentializing your life. If you could only go all-in on one thing, what would it be?

(Still working on that.) 

Leave a comment if you like... I'm still old-school like that. I'd love to hear your thoughts and connect. 

Behind the Scenes: #OctoberImpressions2016

Hey WHOA, it's October already. This year, man, it's flying by! (#thingspeoplesayeveryyear)

So here I am, getting into the blogging groove again. Or I guess it's more like, I'm climbing into the groove with this post, and then I'll stay in it. 

Anyway, I really want to share more Behind the Scenes on my work with you all! Today I'm sharing my process for making an Instagram graphic I did recently, for a photo challenge project. 

#OctoberImpressions2016 is a collaboration between myself and four other Instagrammers. It got started because I tried a photo challenge in August that was created by Susannah Conway (#augustbreak), and my friend Yvette reached out to me to ask if there was going to be another one soon. Susannah isn't doing another one until December, but I have always wanted to create a photo challenge, and I thought it would be cool to do it in collaboration. 

So, in early September, I asked Yvette and another gal Nicole, and they said yes! Then Nicole added her friend Kelly into the mix. And we were four. 

The name, October Impressions, was Yvette's idea, and we all liked it, although we kicked around some other ideas too. 

We each came up with a quarter of 31 prompts. Then I put them in an order that I thought made sense, trying to put prompts around times (like Canadian Thanksgiving, and Halloween, and Celtic Colours) that suited them, and also trying to break up the prompts from their original lists. 

Then it was time to make the graphic that we would use to start the challenge off. I was at yoga one day and saw this beautiful plant on the windowsill. I thought it would make a nice background, so I snapped a photo of it with my phone. 

I started designing the graphic in Photoshop, thinking of Photoshop's Save for Web feature, but quickly realized as I was laying out the list of prompts that I really wanted InDesign's mastery with text. Photoshop really doesn't have that - it doesn't have a function for making bulleted or numbered lists. So I switched over and started a new document in InDesign.

I wish I could say that I sketched all this out beforehand, but honestly I didn't. I basically dropped in the image, and worked on it in the program, making the rectangle, playing with fonts, and moving everything around. Writing this post makes me realize I want to do more sketching beforehand, and also take in-progress shots: next time! 

However, I did do a "mock sketch" for this post, which was fun and made me think that maybe sketching on paper could save me time, next time. 

Fonts used in the end graphic are Roboto Slab and Pugsley. 

So then we posted the graphic to our Instagram accounts on September 30, and now we're five days in to the challenge. It's really neat to see other people besides the original four taking part too, and see the hashtag filling up with photos. You can follow me on Instagram here to see what I'm doing each day for the challenge. The other gals who made the challenge with me are: Yvette, Nicole and Kelly. And, of course, you're more than welcome to play along - we'd love that.

If you have any questions about creating Instagram graphics or about photo challenges, leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you.