Culture | 18 Dec

Our year in review — 2020

Hjörtur Hilmarsson6 min read

Here we are in the last days of 2020 and what a year this has been. For most of us, it has been a year of challenging times. We hope most of you got through it healthy and with a refreshed outlook on life.

Let’s glance through the main happenings this year at 14islands and hopefully realize it was not all doom and gloom.

Tokyo trip

Before covid hit the world, we were able to take the last chance to travel safely as a team. Many of us had dreamed of visiting Japan at some point in life and when Awwwards announced a conference for creatives in Tokyo — the stars in the sky aligned.

It was a fun trip for many reasons: the conference was great, the city is super versatile, the food was tasty and we spent late evenings singing Karaoke — an experience that some might want to forget.

We also really enjoyed the teamLab Borderless experience as an immersive visual exhibition that played with our senses.

Special thanks to the Z family (Zaidin & Zélia) for being awesome guides in Tokyo.

C19 on the rise

On our way home from Tokyo, we heard the news about a virus spreading in Asia. We put up facial masks and headed to the airport. Little did we know that a global pandemic was ahead of us which would shake the world for the rest of the year.

As for everyone, the virus brought challenges to our personal and professional lives. The team became fully remote and we’ve done our best to deal with the separation by having frequent meetings and events to socialize as a team.

Hopping islands

The virus did not stop us from welcoming new people to the islands. In February, Vitor joined the gang as a creative developer. He had been with us for a few months as a freelancer and made such a good impression that we had to hire him.

In March, we welcomed Stefan who is a creative developer. Stefan has a big appetite for creativity and judges websites for both Awwwards and CSS Design Awards in his off time.

We decided to put other hires on hold because of the uncertainty created by the virus. However, the year turned out well in the end, and we’re currently restarting our hiring efforts.

Putting in the work

In recent years, 14islands has evolved from offering development to become a full design and technology studio. However, our website still required a makeover.

This year we launched a full website revamp along with a fresh look for the 14islands brand. The results blew us away, the site won all the awards we applied for (FWA, Awwwards, and CSS Design Awards) and the overall response has been an amazing boost for the studio.

With partners, the fruitful collaboration with Proxy continued for the second year. We worked on projects for HBO, Victorinox (Swish Army Knife brand), and a sneaker release site for the famous tennis player Roger Federer. We also designed and built a new marketing website for Primer and are currently finalizing two super cool projects to launch early next year.

Opening in Brazil

In June, the news finally broke about our office opening in Brazil. The initiative fits our remote setup very well and brings us closer to clients in America.

The office is located in a beautiful city called Floripa on the south coast of Brazil. Floripa is famous for its amazing beaches and has become a booming location for startups in Brazil. You should come to visit someday!

Summer picnic party

With the nice summer in Stockholm, we gathered the team for an outside feast with good food, music …and social distancing. It was great to meet in person after weeks of separation, have fun and play games together.

Spreading joy

With the world working remotely, we wanted to lighten up people's days by creating stories on our Instagram with ideas on how to use the time at home. All our team members also wrote blog posts on helpful design and development topics.

Hjörtur taught students at Harbour.space about front-end development and Sarah mentored students at Hyper Islands about good UX practices. If you want to keep up with us, our go-to place for sharing updates is Instagram.

Christmas in two continents

This time, we celebrated Christmas with dinners on two continents. To keep it safe, we made an effort to decorate our office in Stockholm and had a home-kitchen gathering in Floripa.

Bright times ahead?

It’s been a rough year and we all deserve a pat on the back for sticking through it. Everyone has been doing their best to protect the people around them and staying healthy. The next year is just around the corner with new hopes and brighter times ahead.

Happy new year!

    

Have a project or want to talk? Say hello@14islands.com.