5 min read

Andy’s end of year review 2016

A photo from inside the airport of a Ryanair plane
Updated on 15 Mar 2024

3 years ago I wrote a blog post that suggested 2013 was the quickest year ever known to man, well, I was wrong - 2016 has absolutely flown and the popular saying of ‘doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun’ is spoken out loud once more.

I’ve been in the industry for 12 years now, I turned 30 this year, I’ve got a 2 year old daughter, and I met my primary school teacher in a client meeting the other day…. so I officially feel old… I mean experienced.

I’d like to highlight a few moments from the year that have stood out for me personally here at Shape Web Design Studio Manchester.

The Studio

Slowly but surely we’ve been building on our studio environment, increasing the size of the space, improving the interior and decor, and re-arranging the layout to maximise what we have. I am now truly happy with what we’ve achieved and feel content when clients come to visit us. It really means a lot when people notice the work we’ve put in and enjoy visiting our ‘home from home’. Here’s some lovely pictures taken by India Hobson and you can also read a full blog post about our studio here.


I think it’s safe to say that we have grown as a company internally, but also outwards facing too - new clients are recognising the brands we’ve worked with such as Blackberry, L’Occitane, Morson International, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols etc. I’m happy that potential customers are recognising the quality of work we do, they understand our theories, approach and more importantly - finding us in the first place. We’re very good at SEO and rank highly for all our targeted keywords, with an ever increasing presence in Manchester and London.

The Team

As an employer it’s very important to me that our team blends well, not only in terms of skill set but also in terms of personality. Everybody who works here is obviously very talented, but their approach to work is just as important… and they’re very nice people too. I’d be comfortable taking any of my team members into new client meetings with me. As a University Lecturer at Salford University for 8 years, I was able to spot talent, understand potential and recognise drive. This has enabled me to build a team of creatives who can offer the full package to our clients.

So in light of the above paragraph, that’s why we were all rewarded with a 'christmas do' trip to Dublin for 3 days. Naturally, everybody was excited for that. Some of my friends are surprised that we decided to treat the team to this kind of ‘party’ but in my opinion I think if you treat your team members correctly, they appreciate you, enjoy working for the company even more, and if they’re in a good mood - they will work better. Take a look at our instagram @madebyshape for Dublin pics, shot on iPhone7 using VSCO.

We stayed just off Temple Bar in the centre of the action in Dublin, surrounded by pubs, bars and live music. We had no plans other than go and have fun and relax. If you've never been to Dublin - I personally love it, the atmosphere is great all day and night. Temple Bar is a street full of pubs that have live music all day and night and a friendly atmosphere. Some cities are spread out and if you're aim is to go and drink - sometimes you will have to walk or travel to find different venues ( such as Berlin, Newcastle etc. ) but Dublin is close enough to walk and we certianly enjoyed our 3 day pub crawl. Mike completed the 10 pint of guiness challenge on the second night, Tom brought out his famous dance moves, Jason fell asleep standing up and Adam performed a fantastic Grease Lightning move.

We celebrate each christmas with a party / event and usually we go into Manchester for a meal, drinks and a night out. That was great, but this yera we wanted to do something different and reward the team even more. I can't recommend this theory enough. From an employee's point of view, they felt special, turning up at the airport, going to a different country, just having fun and relaxing in a vibrant city and having all expenses treated for by the business. They will appreciate this gesture. From an employers point of view the team will be in a good mood, they will work harder and be proud of working at Shape. The expense is worth making your team feel special and appreciated as individuals and as a collective.


I think our work has gone up another level also. We’ve regularly been working on eCommerce websites for the past few years but we’ve streamlined our approach and refined our design to enhance the user experience. But it’s not only the design that has improved, Jason has been working on a Craft eCommerce framework in the background to speed up workflow and give a universal checkout to guests, that has been trialled and tested to benefit the customer. If you’re interested in looking at our latest projects and seeing snippets before they go live, go visit our Dribbble account.

It’s a Shape Christmas

This project has raised even more exposure already than last year and has now racked up more than 1,000,000 page views. This year we designed and built a brand new website, so if you’ve not got a advent calendar go checkout our digital countdown and download free artwork each day through to 25th December 2016.

Other highlights from the year include:

Winning the Creative Cup ( again )

Being nominated for an award at the Made In Manchester Awards 2017 ( Digital Professional of the Year )

Helping a friend out and launching bestdayevereducation.com

United signing Paul Pogba


I’m now on wind down and going to enjoy the festive activities in my calendar over the next few weeks. I hope you all have a great christmas and new year. Eat as much as you can, drink as much as you like and don’t let it worry you. I’m starting back at the gym in February…… at least I’m honest. 

If you're looking to start a new project in 2017, feel free to email me directly: andy@madebyshape.co.uk

Co-Founder of MadeByShape. Most of my blogs are about business related aspects, not just web design.