Sharing glimmers of hope: our review of 2023

Green, cream and pink graphic with sparkly ornaments and the words: sharing glimmers: a gift to share from iilo Creative Alliance
Let’s share our glimmers of hope with each other, starting with re-sharing this graphic, designed by iilo collaborator, Mary-margret Degraaf.

2023 has been quite the year for our team at iilo. The world and our communities are facing many challenges right now, and it can feel daunting at times. We’re so lucky to collaborate with clients every day who believe passionately in their missions and the solutions they offer to address today’s problems.

Our ability to help them and use communication design to elevate and maximize their positive impacts gives us endless glimmers of hope for the future.

Client highlights

We’re so inspired by the contagious energy and hope our clients brought to their work in 2023 as they tackled a wide range of issues, from homelessness and food insecurity to gender justice and sustainability-driven economic resiliency. Here are some client and project highlights:

  • As the housing crisis continues in BC, we had the privilege of supporting BC Rent Bank with the design and layout of their BC Rent Bank Impact Report. There was a 31% increase in rent bank loans in 2022-2023 compared to the previous year. As the needs grow, it’s encouraging to see that awareness and support is also growing for this essential homelessness prevention service.
  • 2023 was our 11th year helping CPHR BC & Yukon with their annual HR conference branding. The “Work Meaningfully” theme for this membership event really resonated with our team at iilo.
  • Food Banks BC is another member-driven organization helping to address affordability and food insecurity for BC residents. We supported their small and mighty team by cleaning up their branding and creating some templates for their team to use in-house so they can focus on their mission: Working together towards a hunger free British Columbia.
  • This year, we had the opportunity to collaborate with the teams at Delphi, Globe Series, and CBSR which form a part of Profoundry, a collective of sustainability and climate experts we’ve long admired. We delivered design solutions for an environmentally-focused event, reports, and presentation materials for their clients.
  • We’ve been working closely with the CES Career Education Society this year, one of BC’s leading career development and learning organizations. We’re writing and designing resources for parents and caregivers, career educators, and employers, supporting them to help youth make informed career and life choices. This is a subject area close to my heart since I started my career as a writer in the career development sector!
  • We designed and celebrated the launch of West Coast LEAF’s website — we can’t get enough of the elegant, slowly moving gradient on their site! This project was co-creation at its best. We worked in close collaboration with KunStudios and the West Coast LEAF team to design and build the organization’s new website and helped them meet their mandate of advancing gender justice.
  • Another successful collaboration with Boldt Communications this year allowed us to support the work of Community Impact Real Estate Society, a social enterprise that cares about community and creating complete neighbourhoods through commercial real estate. We created a custom illustration, infographics, and marketing collateral to help them share their story.
  • We love supporting our long-term client LOCO BC with their annual Buy Local Week campaign. The Buy Local Week 2023 campaign included designing artwork for a branded “BC Buy Local” public transit bus rolling in Vancouver for the next month or two!

Company milestones

  • After a lot of work behind the scenes, we’re so proud that iilo became a Certified B Corp in March, which was our biggest goal for 2023!
  • We benefitted so much from The Forum E-series Program for female entrepreneurs in 2022 (which we highly recommend!). We continued to receive guidance this year through The Forum Mentor Program and our insightful, motivating, supportive (and awesome!) mentor, Jonathan Ginter.
  • We started building our core team of employees and expanding our capacity this year! In March, we hired iilo’s first permanent part-time employee, graphic designer Richelle Veñegas (who’s now transitioning to full-time). Then in August, we hired part-time project manager Rafael Acosta to increase our project management capacity.
  • We deepened iilo’s capacity to provide more robust communications services, like writing, editing, content strategy, and digital content development, by onboarding several communications collaborators to our team.
  • As a benefit company registered in BC, our annual reporting includes a public benefit report. We’re proud of the impacts our small yet mighty business was able to make in its second year.
iilo year 2 benefit report graphics showing content from the article highlighted in coloured circles.
We challenge ourselves to measure success on more than just finances.

Looking ahead

  • We worked with a lot of clients addressing social issues this past year. In 2024, we’ll be seeking out more clients in the environmental sustainability space that are working to address climate change, ocean conservation, sustainable forestry, and other environmental issues close to our hearts.
  • As a relatively new Certified B Corp, we’re going to get more involved in Canada’s B Corp community next year, and seek out more opportunities to support B Corp clients and social enterprises.
  • The B Corp assessment highlighted not only the areas where iilo shines, but also where there’s room to continue improving our business practices, which we’ll be dedicated to in 2024.
  • Taking care of ourselves and our team as we grow will be more important than ever next year. We’ll be putting intentional self-care practices in place next year and really taking our self/life/work mantra to heart, to ensure everyone at iilo works at a healthy pace and enjoys their day-to-day.
  • Our company culture is based on collaboration, continual learning, creative inspiration, and fun! Our team repeatedly tell us that being an iilo employee/collaborator is a unique experience that they value highly. We’ll be leaning into this and providing even more opportunities to learn, share, and grow together. As a virtual team, many of us haven’t actually met in person. We’ll also be aiming for some in-person get-togethers in 2024 (fingers crossed!).

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