As 2017 winds down, we’re taking the opportunity to look back on the year that was. For those of us in snowy climes, there’s something about that fresh blanket of white that coincides with the new calendar year. Before we take off on holiday, it’s time to reflect.

Actually, 2017 was a year of reflection overall. In 2016, we wrote about how we changed our processes, and while we keep making those better and better, this year we did a lot of thinking about our values as a company and who we are as a team. We wrote a lot about those values on our Journal, and we’ve pulled out our top 3 favourites from the year.

Our team

Every year brings changes to the Plank team, and 2017 was no exception. We’re happy to have said hello more often than goodbye, and are starting to run out of desk space around here. We’re pleased to welcome Christina, Véronique, Chloé, and Keron to the team, and we wish all the best to Omar, Andrew, and Sean in their next chapters.

We said hello 🙂

…and goodbye 🙁

For several years, we have partnered with Vanier College and welcomed students fulfilling their Computer Science Technology internship requirement. Massimo stuck around after graduating and still works with us part-time as he studies at Concordia, and we wish Jawad the best in the rest of his time at Vanier! We’ll sneak in an early hello to Alexander, who will start off his internship in the New Year.

We also returned to gender parity in the office after a few years, though certainly not for the first time. We’ve always had a pretty equal team, and women actually outnumbered men by 2:1 here in 2000. We’re committed to maintaining and encouraging a diverse team, and embracing our differences.

The Plank Team Relaxing on a Cruise in the Old Port
We’re also committed to spending quality time together – sometimes on a boat!

Our work

We did a whole lot of launching this year! There was much celebration as The Sun went live – a major redesign for a long-time partner. Our ongoing relationship with evenko saw us publish new sites for 2 venues (Place Bell, and MTelus), and 3 festivals (Osheaga, ÎleSoniq, and Heavy Montreal). We also completed a redesign for the Student Society of McGill University, and helped the McGill Faculty of Law get ready for theirs with some UX and wireframing.

We continued to support our friends at Culture Days, the Fantasia Festival, and Rush. We started a new project with Concordia’s Office of Community Engagement to create an interactive mapping tool that will highlight the many Montreal-based projects that their students, faculty and staff are involved in. We’re also pushing forward our work with Vimy to Juno – launched last year – with a whole new section developed with support from the Virtual Museum of Canada. We continue to work with Repercussion Theatre to develop a live translation app, which saw its second pilot version over the summer.

Some fun new projects got started this year. We worked with CampusOntario, Ryerson University, and Pressbooks, to develop a UX/UI design framework for a network that develops and shares accessible, open source textbooks. We also flexed our branding muscles for a new apartment building in our neighbourhood – BRiX. We’re looking forward to sharing that story as it develops over the next year. There’s also some work that we’re dying to tell you about, but we’ve got to keep it zipped for now. Stay tuned!

We went places

Our team travelled over 55,000 kms to a baker’s dozen conferences (that’s 13, btw). Debbie wins for farthest travelled – she got to go all the way to Germany! Warren also had the chance to present case studies of our work with Vimy to Juno to audiences at two museum conferences.

We made things happen

Our Breakfast Club series continued, with three awesome speakers: Avery Swartz, NJ Wight, and Chloé Freslon. We hosted the third edition of Montreal Baseball Hack Day, and have just started work on a Hack Sprint to boost the visibility and participation of women at tech events in Quebec.

We also tried out a fun new kind of get-together that we’re calling The Dinner Party. We invited some folks we knew and asked them to bring folks we didn’t know so we could all sit around and eat and drink and chat. We invited Michael Wheeler and Sarah Garton Stanley from SpiderWebShow to start us off on the topic of “the intersection of digital and IRL experience” and it was some truly excellent conversation! Sometimes the best events are the smallest and simplest.

Countdown to our 20th Anniversary

At the end of 2018, Plank will officially be 20 years old!

So we’re going to celebrate the whole darn year. We’ll honour the journey of how we got where we are with some vintage web design, fun flashbacks, and by checking in with some of our alumni to see what they’re up to now.

To whet your appetite, here’s a screenshot from our website in our very first year of operation:

An early view of the Plank website
Moar extrusion!

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We hope you had a great year, and that 2018 will be even better still!