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The Design Studio Update You All Have Been Waiting For

April 13, 2024

I know you all have been on the edge of your seat waiting for a studio update… right? Right?

Okay, probably not. But I like to think so. Regardless, I’m giving you an unsolicited update as we head into the second quarter of the year (how?!)

2024 has been full of so much growth already and I’ve gained so much clarity in the way I want to move forward with design and my career as a creative. Long story short, I’m going back to my roots.

For too long, I’ve felt unfairly influenced by the standards of others’ design studios and I’m ready to say, heck to all of the mumbo jumbo stuffy business “rules” and hello to freedom to create in a way that feels good for ME. And while the more rigid rules of business (aka having frameworks for everything) have helped shape me into the designer I am today, and I’m grateful for the years I was able to run my design studio that way, it no longer serves me in the season of life I’m currently living. I’m ready to evolve and allow more fluidity into the ways I work as a designer. And finally, I don’t feel guilty for letting go of the standards I held my studio to for so long. Instead, I’m really dang excited for this change and what it will mean for both my business and my personal life.

When I first started Poised Avenue as a blog in 2016, it felt so fun to write and design and I want to get back to that, just better — more confident in my design style and ability to run a business.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that everywhere I look there are other designers yelling, “$10k months or bust!”, claiming they have the exact blueprint for a successful design studio. For a long time, I tried to fit my design studio into these one-size-fits-all strategies in hopes of reaching “success” but each time, I felt like a failure or a fraud. I’ve only recently realized that although so many designers tout these blueprints and showy milestones as successes, they aren’t the only way to reach success. This realization has given me permission to do my own thing and find my own success. And in case you have yet to have this realization, here’s your permission slip: there are many, many ways to be successful as a designer, and even if your version of running a design studio looks different than the mainstream way, that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way.

My design and business skills will continuously be practiced and honed, but I want to get back to the playfulness of being a creative. Rather than focusing solely on the steps to promised success, I want to get messy and find my own version of what it means to be successful in this space. Maybe that looks like distancing myself from those who have too heavily corporatized their design studios. Maybe it looks like sharing a favorite recipe in a blog post, or writing a more personal email to my subscribers, just because I want to.

During these most precious years of my life and journey in motherhood, I realize that showy accolades are fulfilling and great, but just as great are empty afternoons for playdates with my daughter, or quiet time to simply put pencil to paper and create to recharge my creativity. It’s the ability to find fun in my work again, infuse my personality into the ways my studio runs, and create a space where I can be creative, profitable, and support my life (and sanity lol) as a stay-at-home mommy.

I think the difference between Amanda now and Amanda a few years ago is, today I have confidence in my design style, my abilities to always evolve and learn as a designer, and I can more confidently show up as a creative entrepreneur. Just a few years ago, I was unsure of my place in the industry, of my design style, and of my ability to be successful, so I was constantly looking for the frameworks and approval of other designers who “had all the answers”.

Whatever this year of design looks like for Poised Avenue, know this: I’m on a journey to find my own version of creative success. Poised Avenue has been there for me through so many life stages, and I’m excited to evolve alongside it into the next. This year, I’ll still be working 1:1 with branding clients, but my branding work will be more selective as I niche into the kid and family industries that I love so much. I’ll also be exploring more passive ways of design, like working alongside brands to create custom surface pattern designs or designing stationery for companies like Minted. I’ll also be focusing on marketing my children’s book. But most importantly, I’ll be finding ways to find play in my work again. Maybe I’m totally screwing up this entire use-your-blog-to-market thing, but that’s okay with me for now. I’m excited to share more personality with you, and I hope it inspires you to find creativity in your own life or business.

The goal of becoming an independent designer was always to fit my life into my work and my work into my life. Being a designer is at the core of my identity — it’s not just a job. It’s about time I rediscover the ways I was meant to live out all of the aspects of my identity as one, rather than trying to fit my work into a box it was never meant to fit inside of.

I want this space to be one you enjoy visiting, not just one you come to for rigid business advice. So, here’s to more creative writing, sharing just because I want to, and just more FUN. I hope you stay and enjoy a while.

Amanda DeWoody of Poised Avenue Design Studio

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