H1 2021 Report

Really just Q2 since this project started in March/April

Context 💡

At my place of labor, The New York Times, it’s ✨ the magical ✨ time of year where we start to plan for the next 6 months, H2 2021. This has lead to an explosion of brainstorming meetings and emails with tons of links to Google Docs and Slides. Who doesn’t love talking about metrics and KPIs and OKRs and SLOs and all these amazing corporate terms that basically equate to “we need to continue to grow”? Either way Good Graphics was started in March of 2021 so let’s stay in this corporate frame of mind and look back at H1 2021.

Stats 📊

Expenses: ~ $3,000

Revenue: ~ $2,000

Pen Plotter Print Designs: 38

Risograph Print Designs: 9

Orders: 76

  • United States: 64

  • International: 12

Socials:

Community:

Content:

  • Newsletters: 17

  • Tiktok Posts: 103

  • Insta Posts: 22

  • Twitter Posts: 178

Takeaways 🤔

Overall things are chugging along. I’m averaging about 2-4 orders a week and project that in H2 2021 Good Graphics will be “profitable”. When I started, the goal was for Good Graphics to make enough money to pay for itself and I’m glad to see that happening.

The social strategy of Good Graphics is still being figured out but there are some clear signs here as well. Tiktok is the platform where I get the biggest engagement and will continue to invest in that the most. I use a post-scheduler for Instagram, Twitter and other social networks so publishing to these is more automatic as I only have to think about these things every 2 - 3 weeks. The creation of the @goodgraphicsxyz accounts has allowed me to publish multiple times a day without diluting my “personal brand” on my main accounts. It has also allowed for some cool experiments like “click to tweet” and I want to add even more over time.

Lastly, the Patreon and Newsletter statistics are placed under community for a reason. When publishing on a social network you do not own your audience. There is a budding train of thought that user generated content is akin to working in a factory and that really we, as users, are just churning out content on a factory line without any real compensation or sustainability. Patreon and the newsletter are my way of building a sustainable community. There is no algorithm that dictates if these updates go out to 20% or 50% of y’all. It’s a direct line of communication and in the long run something that think will outline all of those other channels.

The Graphic of the (Half) Year Award goes to… 🏆

Init. It’s sentimental but this is the 1st Graphic I created with goodgraphics.js. It also serves as the template code/file that I continually start from whenever I start a new piece.

What’s Next aka H2 and Beyond… 🔮

I took a mental health break from work this week and it been really eye opening. I spent the time trying not to schedule activities (I failed), writing (I did okay), and reading (I succeeded). One of things I’m reading is Black Futures by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham. This book is eye opening, affirming, challenging and soothing. I won’t explain why because my blackness is my blackness but I think it’s a book that I will revisit and reread until I die.

How does this relate to Good Graphics? It has situated my thoughts and work within a bigger picture of the black experience and shown me that there is an urgency in the work I do but also that the timeline is my own. I have tons of things that I want to do these next 6 months and each one of them feels like it’s life or death but none of them have to actually get done within that timeframe. Growth and progress don’t need to be measured in any of the stats I mentioned above or within any span of time. Growth and progress can be whatever I decide they are and occur whenever I say. Originally I was going to say that H2 2021 is going to be:

More Graphics. More Prints. More Experiments.

and it still might be. But when examining my use of “More” it’s important to think in terms of depth. I might work on a single Graphic for the next 6 months, per my last email, or a single Experiment. Or I might do nothing and produce nothing. My creativity is nonlinear and by situating it within a framework that is capitalistic, deadline driven, and linear I am doing a disservice to not only myself but to my ancestors. Resting and processing are as important to the creative process, and life, as continuous output and I want to create more room for that in H2 2021.

Thank You

Before we go, I wanted to say thank you to you dear reader. The thing that has spurred the most growth in this project are these weekly newsletters. This newsletter has helped me develop a writing voice and organize my thoughts on a weekly and consistent manor. It’s also helped me take up more space with my creativity and feel less ashamed or fearful about failing. If you read this every week thank you and even if you don’t, still thank you because you’re at least reading this post 😊

Till Next Week!

-Mello

P.S. - I sound very facetious about planning but I actually love it. There’s a metaphor that says if you want people to build a ship then teach them to love the ocean (link to metaphor). To me, planning is the time where you teach people to love the ocean. Where you as a collective come together and pick the next destination that you’ll sail to.