I have always worked on side projects, but it has gotten to a point now where I’m finding it hard to distinguish them from my real design job. Working on my book Find and Keep is the perfect example of this. I was approached by publisher Hardie Grant to do a book and together we came up with the concept of a DIY / design book. For the book I had to come up with all the concepts for DIY projects but also of course design, test and write all the instructions for them too. It was an exceptionally lengthy and time-consuming process, which ended up taking up most of my time for a good month or two (which is not what side projects are meant to do!).
With the DIY Projects for Find and Keep, I tried to make them accessible for people with pretty much any creative ability. I also tried to show my style throughout all the projects, for example for the girl and bear mobile I have used my illustrations, but provided templates so the reader can still make it pretty much exactly the same as my illustration. It is also similar with bunny and robot masks, which used bold graphic shapes, which seem to be a signature style of mine too.
I have also dabbled in many other side projects, including women’s clothing line Princess Tina, kids clothing line Tiny Mammoth, a line of homewares and artwork for many exhibitions (including 6 solo exhibitions). I am also currently working on a follow up book to Find and Keep titled Home which will be released early November 2013, as well as a children’s book with penguin.
Regardless of side projects usually taking up more time than they are meant to, they always take my work in a direction which would not have happened without the free form exploration of these projects. This in turn has started to affect the commercial work I do, as these projects show my versatility as a designer, so the work I am starting to get now is becoming similar to the work I produce for my side projects. This is a pretty great outcome for all the (unpaid but much loved) hours I have spent on the extra projects!