Doing Things That Artists Do
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Zach Hill and Any Morin aside, as a designer, it can be too easy to settle into the idea that we are not artist, we are curators. Or in short, we are re-inventing the wheel, rather than coming up with completely ways to get the car in motion. Though I don't disagree. Some designers are more of the curators, the re-inventors. On the contrary though, we need designers who consider the new, the alternative, the unheard of.
Stagnancy. It's the adjective that I often fear the most as a designer. It can be so tempting and comfortable to settle-in, find the routine, and never budge while continuing to do good work. It's a difficult balance. Embracing the "hustle" mentality or the idea that you can "be your own boss" can rapidly limit you and limit those you work with. Abrasion within design doesn't yield, though balancing small pushes and changes with your routine can promote new results. If it works, why change it? Routine is good in most senses. It's efficient and effective. Failing to question "why" it works though, can limit you from understanding how you work, and even how you can avoid problems in the future.
February blew past and barely took the time to settle in. As a new month rolls in, it's an opportunity to look at how 30 days of small changes could promote new ways of thinking, more bursts of creativity, or even just an opportunity to problem-solve differently.
I also really liked Taylor Cox's challenge. These would take more time to create, but the originality of each would be substantial.
- Day 1 – Create your own color scheme. Already feeling a creative block? Visit color.adobe.com for a boost of inspiration.
- Day 2 – Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil. Shut your eyes and draw a self-portrait. You’ll either end up really impressed with your Picasso-esque masterpiece or getting a good laugh. It’s a win-win no matter what.
- Day 3 – Design a calendar page for your birth month.
- Day 4 – Record your own action in Photoshop. Bonus points if you use it on a photograph you took.
- Day 5 – Try your hand at fauxligraphy (fake calligraphy). No special tools needed!
- Day 6 – Illustrate your own character. Try giving an inanimate object lifelike qualities if you’re at a loss.
- Day 7 – Use typography to illustrate your go-to motivational quote.
- Day 8 – Design an infographic based on your favorite fictional character. Lemonly’s Avengers infographic can give you some inspiration.
- Day 9 – Redesign the cover for the last book you read.
- Day 10 – Mix two artists’ styles to create a mashup of their work. The Tim Burton-themed Pokemon are a prime example.
- Day 11 – Create your own business cards.
- Day 12 – Design a pattern.
- Day 13 – Mock up a personal website.
- Day 14 – Create a design using only circles and triangles.
- Day 15 – Turn yourself into an illustrated cartoon.
- Day 16 – Pick an item and show its evolution over the years.
- Day 17 – Put together an illustration based on Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day.
- Day 18 – Create a desktop and mobile wallpaper background.
- Day 19 – Illustrate an object completely out of letters/words.
- Day 20 – Get out your graph paper and sketch your own font.
- Day 21 – Make an illustration based off of a photograph.
- Day 22 – Design a coloring book page.
- Day 23 – Remember the website you mocked up for #13? Don’t forget mobile-first. Mock up the mobile layout for your site.
- Day 24 – Combine your two favorite foods into one illustration. Ice cream in a pizza cone, anyone?
- Day 25 – Create a logo for your hometown.
- Day 26 – Design something in a different style than you’re used to using. Is your work typically flat and monochromatic? Give dimension and a variety of colors a try! Is minimal your style? Switch over to abstract for this one!
- Day 27 – Illustrate a recipe.
- Day 28 – Make your own pun-tastic picture like those featured in Frida Clements’ Have A Little Pun.
- Day 29 – Design a logo for an item you use every day.
- Day 30 – Make yourself a congratulatory greeting card for completing this challenge!
So, whatever the undertaking might be, keep doing things that artists do.