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  • Writer's pictureKirsti Rochon

Sink or Swim?

Looking back at 2020 and being thankful for my water wings

I find this age-old vernacular extremely apropos for the year 2020. By definition, this phrase means, “To undergo moral deterioration: If you are put in a difficult position and given no help, it's completely up to you if you fail (sink) or succeed (swim).” Nearly all of us have found ourselves in this situation over the past few months and I wanted to share how I faced this challenge head-on.

Welcome to the year 2021. We’ve made it! Or have we? 2020 was filled with challenges that none of us could have anticipated. We now find ourselves waiting, full of hope, to see the other side of the rainbow (Did anyone see that double rainbow earlier this month?). I, for one, know that I never would have survived if it weren’t for the great clients and fellow designers around me (virtually, not physically, I promise) day in and day out. Thank YOU.

I’m constantly in awe of what our local designers/firms come up with to market and build our community. Thank you to Northbound for your research on how Americans are dealing with economic concerns over COVID-19. By focusing on individual purpose and priorities, I was able to understand its effects and address appropriately within my own projects. Kudos to JayRay for your amazing campaign for the South Sound area; you made it possible to shop hundreds of unique Pierce County finds from home. This was a brilliant way to give these small local shops a business boost they so desperately needed. Thank you to Hansen Belyea for your insanely relevant streaming event, “New ideas for connecting with your audience”. It left me energized and excited to try some new things within my own work.

I would not have survived this year if it weren’t for my amazing team of collaborators. I was appreciative to have some time to finally refresh my own website and brand after nearly 13 years. Thank you to Seattle Creative Works for your quick refresh of my site – it’s easy to navigate and an effortless way to show off my latest projects. It's been a pleasure to have worked with Zolé for nearly 17 years of building sites together! Thank you to Kerry Carty Photography for taking some great shots of not only my work, but that of my clients. I have lots of gratitude to Rhombus Design for being such a wonderful partner. From the new HIV Prep site, to our latest website build project, I am super proud of the work we have done together. A special thank you to clients and friends Joe and Maureen Brotherton, whose advice and leadership has truly inspired me. Additionally, thank you to both Paul Rosenwald (of Seamonster Studios) and Melissa Willhite (of Park, Smith, & Feek) for their referrals to fantastic new clients.

This year has brought new professional relationships, as well as having strengthened the bonds I’ve had for years with others. Thanks to Kelley-Ross Pharmacy for continuing to put trust in my skills to build your marketing endeavors. Much appreciation also goes to Kristin Zwiers Photography, 3-Tier Alaska, Kaplan Peak Performance Consulting, Washington State Pharmacy Association, Stance Caddy and Think Twice for having confidence in me to work on all of your branding needs.

The origin of the idiom “sink or swim” literally means fail or succeed.

So, if you ask me, "Did I sink or swim?" I will say that I swam rather well, but only because of those around me. Thanks for being my “Water Wings”.

Kirsti Rochon is a senior level brand designer and marketing professional in the Greater Seattle area. For more information, visit or email

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