One year. 365 days. Five-hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes, as the hip musical theater kids say. In honor of completing my first year as a writer at Redhead, I’m reflecting on some of the most memorable lessons I’ve taken away from this role and these eclectic, creative folk.

1. Instagram is not for the weak of heart.
(Get it? Because the Instagram “like” button is a heart? No? OK.) From developing a consistent visual theme and adhering to brand standards to identifying strategic hashtags and hacking the elusive algorithm, there is so much more research and planning behind social media content than I ever imagined. I have a newfound respect for every lifestyle blogger on Instagram and all their aesthetically pleasing coffee shop photos. But after writing approximately 496 Instagram posts for Redhead and our clients this past year, I’ve got a pretty solid knack for it now.

2. Emails should be short, sweet and to the point.
My days of detailed, rambling client emails are far behind me. When bouncing between projects at a fast-paced agency, I’ve found clarity and communication go hand-in-hand. Shoutout to Racha for introducing me to the magic of succinct bullet points in emails.

3. The lexicon of designer street slang is vast.
Since entering Redhead’s doors as a non-designer, I’ve been schooled in a number of technical design terms. The expanded vocabulary of designer street slang his infiltrated my daily conversations; offset, bleed, analogous, x-height, trim, lorem ipsum, vectors, widows, orphans and random Pantone numbers now all hold new meanings and a special place in my heart.

4. A good name isn’t written in a day.
Or a week. Or two weeks. Renaming an organization is a whole process, rooted in strategy, inspiration and hours of Googling. Despite the inevitable heartbreak when you find out your groundbreaking name idea is, in fact, already a thing, brainstorming names that accurately represent an organization and its mission has turned out to be one of my favorite tasks.

5. Dubble Bubble gum is, like, actually really good.
In an unfortunate twist of fate before coming to Redhead, I had somehow forgotten how great old-fashioned, pink bubble gum tastes. Dubble Bubble was reintroduced into my life at our office, where it is considered both a delicacy and an office staple. (Thanks to Jill, the bubblegum queen).

6. Your writing is more than the sum of its words.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the word count tool was my friend. I would revel in the glory of hitting the required 1,000 words after hunching over an article or blog post for hours. But one year ago, that all changed. When it comes to copy for most print or digital pieces, I’ve found that most audience members (myself included) have the attention span of a fish. Body copy space is prime real estate, so I try to make every word count.

7. The K in CMYK stands for black.
Admittedly, I (sort of) knew this one before coming here. But this factual tidbit came in handy when it was the final question at Crunchy’s trivia, and nobody on my team believed me when I insisted that K meant black, for key. (To their credit, it’s a bit of a stretch.) Regardless, I felt like a #boss for knowing it.

8. Ask questions and do your research.
Another great part of my job is getting to work with clients across a wide range of industries: nature, education, manufacturing, science, policy, government, farms, children, podcasts—I feel like I get to do it all. But that’s also how I quickly learned to ask a lot of questions and devote time to research. During kickoff meetings with clients, it’s better to ask a million questions than pretend to be a jack-of-all-trades. And I’ve found that when you’re researching a client in a technical or nuanced industry on your own, Simple English Wikipedia is your friend.

9. Never filter your ridiculous ideas.
My brainstorms have always been messy. Before coming to Redhead, my idea generation process usually went something like this: 1) List every single idea that pops into my head in the comfort of my own Google Doc. 2) Sort out ideas I think are embarrassing and/or “just wouldn’t work.” 3) Share the final ideas with the team. Here, I realized extraneous, off-the-wall ideas are key differentiators, especially in saturated industries. Now I cut out that middle step and share literally all of the things, because you never know which “What if…?” might be the one. As the storied late 20th-century theologian and philosopher Ms. Frizzle said, “Take chances, make mistakes and get messy.”

10. It’s all about the team, the team, the team.
Any coach, motivational speaker or sled dog will assure you that working with a strong team is crucial. Find yourself a work team that will help explain how to use the printer for the 10th time, send you reassuring GIFs on Slack, and literally push your car out of the parking lot when it gets stuck during the polar vortex.

Clearly, it’s been an educational experience traveling once around the sun with the Redhead team. Here’s to more learning, growth and Dubble Bubble in the future.