In December of 2014, I challenged myself to complete a design-a-day for 31 days…
Over the course of the month, I created a quick typography piece each day, spending no more than 1-2 hours on each. For a content source, I chose the book of Proverbs as it was fitting that there are 31 chapters of proverbs to draw from, corresponding with the 31 days of the month. Not to mention that it served the dual purpose of helping me to be reading my Bible on a daily basis.
Each day, I selected one standout verse or passage from the corresponding chapter of Proverbs. My aim was to spend one hour or less on each piece. This was not just because it was challenging to make time for anything more, as you might guess, but because I specifically wanted to focus on the process of completing an entire design within a small time window. This was invaluable, as it helped me to discover how often I spend more time than necessary nitpicking or obsessing over what could easily be considered minor details within a design.
It taught me to be objective in the design process.
You might say that this sounds like I was just teaching myself to be ok with sub-par work, but that is not the case at all. As designers, we are often perfectionists, and we tend to hold ourselves to the highest standards of all. While this itself is a positive, and even vital, characteristic of the designer or creative personality, it can also be a significant hindrance to productivity. What many designers (and general “perfectionist” types) don’t realize is that
While it is challenging for many to be satisfied with 90%, it is important to consider an important point: the average person cannot see the difference between your 90% and your 100%. That 100% level is most often for ourselves, and our own satisfaction.
If 100% often requires twice as much, even 50% more work, ask yourself: how much more would you be able to accomplish with twice as much time? How much more work could you produce? How many more personal projects could you finally get to? How much more free time would you have to spend with family, or for yourself?
I highly recommend a daily project for all designers or creatives, even if it is just short term. It can teach you a lot about your work and your process.
Ideally, the next step would be a year-long daily project! This is certainly a far more daunting commitment than a meager 30 days…
Be sure to check out the full project of all 31 designs.
Continue the conversation
Have you completed a daily design project of your own? If so, what stood out to you from your experience? Have a comment or question on my challenge? I would love to chat with you about it! Feel free to strike up a conversation on twitter or send me an email.
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