Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, co-founder of lifestyle magazine Lagom, founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, and an electronic musician.

Viewport Industries & The 2012 Experiment

Posted on 17 November 2011 Comments

Article illustration for Viewport Industries & The 2012 Experiment

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of bad clients, but I’m happy to say that — by and large — I have some pretty decent ones these days: clients who understand the creative process, appreciate the time projects take, and invest in ample research and development. In other words, apart from the odd bad seed who occasionally slips through the net, I haven’t got a whole lot to complain about, and I’m extremely fortunate to be in this situation. So, then, this next sentence may come as a bit of a shock:

I’m giving up client work in 2012.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Sorry, I gave in to my desire to sound dramatic there. To clarify: for the majority of next year, I’ll be working on building and selling my own products, and the only client work I’ll be doing is a small amount that’s already booked in for January. I’ll likely open up for client work again around September (or before if the product stuff happens to go pear-shaped), but realistically I’m aiming for a client-free period between February and September. Actually, no, I really will be giving up client work for the entire year.

There are two key ingredients in this plan, which I’ve started referring to as ‘The 2012 Experiment’. The first is 8 Faces, which has already allowed me to massively cut down on client work. The second — and arguably most important — is Viewport Industries, a company I’ve just formed with my good friend Keir Whitaker. Did I just unveil a brand new company there? I think I did! So, say hello to viewportindustries.com and @viewportind. Hurrah! Keir has blogged about it, too.

Keir and I have been working together for quite some time: we met many moons ago when we both worked at Carsonified and have been friends ever since. Earlier this year we organised Insites Tour together, and with all sorts of ideas for products — both digital and physical — bubbling around every time we went for a beer, we eventually decided to form a company, ditch the majority of our client work, and make some cool shit. I’m not going to say too much about what we have planned yet, but the big thing is a sequel to Insites Tour… and it’s not what everyone’s expecting.

I’m excited. As much as I’m grateful for the calibre of my clients, I need a break. With 8 Faces, I’ve been lucky enough to experience how amazing it can be to make your own products; to truly be your own boss. And I need more of that feeling.

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