Design Something Every Day!

Advertisement

As designers, we’re all trying to get better at what we do. We surf the Web daily for hours trying to find useful tips and tricks to enhance our design skills. But what if we spent less time surfing the Web looking for inspiration and more time creating and designing things?

The Challenge

Someone once said, “Practice makes perfect“. While that statement might not be completely true, I do believe that practice makes you better. That is why in this blog post, I would like to propose something to every designer: Why not try to design something every day for one year?

Actors rehearse their lines until they learn them perfectly. Musicians practice their songs until every note is just right. Athletes practice their particular sport so they can excel. As designers, why can’t we do the same? Ask any successful designer in the community about how they have succeeded and they will attribute much of their success to practice. I challenge you today to design something daily. Take fifteen to twenty minutes that you would normally use to surf the Web today and devote it to designing something.

Most of you are probably thinking that I am out of my mind for proposing this. How can you, as a designer working either for a company or for yourself, find the time to design something daily? More importantly, how will I come up with design ideas for a whole year’s worth of projects? Well, to answer those questions, here are some practical tips.

Some Practical Advice

15 – 20 Minutes Daily

This challenge is for you to practice your skills. It doesn’t have to be a final, polished project, so you can limit it to a short period of time. Additionally, you can actually schedule this as part of your daily routine, which will make you more likely to follow through on your decision to design something daily.

And don’t worry or get discouraged if you miss a day due to other more important commitments. The key is to jump back into it as soon as possible. Keep doing it, and try your best to stay consistent. If you don’t find it reasonable to design something daily for a whole year, then you could try instead for one month, or another more manageable time period.

Design Ideas

You’re probably wondering how you will be able to come up with a fresh new design daily for 365 days. Actually, it’s quite simple. You can use a theme for your designs. Maybe for one month you can try to design something retro. For another month, you can try your hand at some typographic posters. The possibilities are endless. A good example is Jessica Hische. She started a project called the Daily Drop Cap41, where she designs a drop cap2 every day and makes her Drop Cap designs available for free download.

Z3
Daily Drop Cap41 is Jessica Hische’s personal project: she designs a drop cap every day and makes her designs available for free download.

Another thing you can do is experiment5 with different ideas that you have. Maybe you’ve been thinking about doing a collage effect, for example. You might have an idea that you’ve been wanting to try, so this might be the perfect time for it. You can also use this “practice time” to try out different tutorials that have caught your attention.

Be Accountable

Some of us will have a hard time staying motivated during such a lengthy commitment. One way to stay motivated is to create a blog specifically for tracking the project’s progress during the year, and post the results daily. People will be expecting to see something from us and this will keep us motivated.

This method of blogging daily for one year has recently been popularized in the mainstream movie Julie and Julia6, which follows American author Julie Powell’s year-long attempt to cook every recipe from a famous cookbook by Julia Child, while blogging about the experience7 each day. In Powell’s experience, her accountability was part of what kept her motivated for the 365 days.

Another way to stay accountable and keep motivated is to get a fellow designer to do the challenge with you. During the year, you can show each other what you’ve designed each day, allowing for some healthy, friendly competition.

It’s Been Done Before

As mentioned, the concept of blogging daily for a full year has been done before in a variety of contexts. It’s also been done successfully by a lot of great designers. Here are some designers that I have asked about designing something daily.

Stefan G. Bucher – The Daily Monster

Daily Monsters Website8

Daily Monster9

How long did you design / have you been designing daily?
I filmed myself drawing Daily Monsters10 for 100 days straight (including weekends and holidays). I capped it at 100 days since I also started animating the Monsters in more and more elaborate ways as the project grew. Since then I’ve done month-long bursts of Daily Monsters, and also documented the making of the book 100 Days of Monsters11 as a daily process. These days I usually do Monsters with lots of animation for special events or occasions.

What are some challenges associated with designing daily?
The main challenge for me is integrating a daily practice with the demands of my regular work, and my occasional attempts at having a social life. There are just so many hours in the day, and it becomes a nerdy endurance challenge. The process itself is great, though. The real challenge is to not block out everything else.

Can you give me at least 5 benefits of partaking in this daily project?

  1. I got to draw every day again after almost stopping entirely for a few years.
  2. I’m getting better at creating characters every day.
  3. I’m teaching myself how to animate in the process.
  4. When I release the Daily Monsters daily it quickly attracts a great, active, and creative audience of kind, amazing people.
  5. Doing something every day short-circuits procrastination and self-doubt. There’s only time for doing, and doing = happiness.

Where do you get ideas for your daily designs?
The Monsters are a process. As long as I sit myself down and do the work, I don’t have to worry about ideas; they simply appear. That’s the best part. You’d think I’d have learned that lesson now, but I still fall out of the habit, and get right back into my head. “What am I going to draw? Is this any good? What’ll I do next?” When you’re committed to putting something out there every day, you just don’t have the luxury of doubt. And if something comes out a little wonky, well… you know you can redeem yourself the next day.

Any advice for anyone who wants to get started doing this?
Don’t think about it. Don’t plan for it. If I had thought about how much work the Daily Monsters would be, I’d have never started. If you get an idea for something, just sit down and start doing it. Also, you might consider not telling anybody about your daily project until you’re a few days or weeks into it. Commit to it, but allow yourself some privacy to work out the early kinks. Most importantly: Make sure you don’t ever skip a day. If you know you’re going out of town, or if you feel a cold coming on, create a few posts in advance. You mustn’t skip a day. As soon as you’ve skipped one day, it becomes so much easier to skip the second. And then you’re screwed. But here’s the thing: You won’t want to skip. Doing the Daily Monsters was completely addictive. I got to be proud of something I’d done every single day.

Matt Lyon

Make Something Cool Everyday Flickr Group12

Matt Lyon13

How long did you design / have you been designing daily?
I’ve been designing on a strictly daily basis since January 1st this year… It was one of my New Year’s resolutions.

What are some challenges associated with designing daily?

Most of the challenges centre upon either time or inspiration, but it’s these challenges that form the reason for doing daily work alongside other commitments.

Can you give me at least 5 benefits of partaking in this daily project?
I’ve discovered plenty of benefits over the year, but I think that these have been the most valuable:

  1. Keeping the creative juices flowing
  2. Working in different ways as a means to overcome potential obstacles (e.g. creating a piece of work with limited materials or within a strict time limit)
  3. Daily work inevitably improves your skills / craft, be it in terms of drawing, using creative software, etc.
  4. Daily work creates its own momentum in terms of recurring themes, directions and ideas, that will feed into other work.
  5. The process instills and supports a sense of discipline to work.
  6. Allows for experimentation and unadulterated freedom to try anything out.

Where do you get ideas for your daily designs?

All of my work evolves from drawing, and for a while many of the themes and ideas in what I create have generated over time through the process of just letting things happen. Simply put, I take a line for a walk and see what happens, be it in response to something I’ve read, heard, or am just feeling. There are no rules – this is my time to do what I want.

Any advice for anyone who wants to get started doing this?
I would recommend anyone and everyone with an interest in image-making to take up the challenge of creating something every day. My ‘drawing a day’ project has been so rewarding to me this year that I’ll be continuing it come 2010. Illustrators or character designers should keep a daily sketchbook to keep their ideas fresh… Alternatively, taking a photograph a day can prove just as valuable for others. Perhaps graphic designers or typographers could do a ‘layout a day’ project?! Who knows?! The sky’s the limit!

Joshua Wysocki – Wysocki Weekday

Wysocki Weekday14

Wysocki Daily15

How long did you design / or have been designing daily?
I started doing those dailies since November 25, 2007 — so over 2 years now.

What are some challenges associated with designing daily?
The biggest is trying to keep at it on a normal pace. You probably noticed how I have missed a lot of days so far. Working a 10+ hour day-job wears me out and my brain can’t handle holding the pencil in my hand.

Can you give me at least 5 benefits of partaking in this daily project?

Benefits? Are there any? Maybe it’s the thought of continuing a project. Training yourself to be expressive and challenge yourself creatively. Making new friends and communicating with fellow artists. And hopefully eventually making some money from selling zines/books.

Any advice for anyone who wants to get started doing this?
Just jump into it and doodle a small event that happened to you that day… from something as small as stepping into a puddle of mud, or watching your favorite TV show.

Brock Davis

Make Something Cool Every Day 200916

7-Twelve17

How long did you design / have you been designing daily?
In my job I think of ideas every day, but this project for 2009 is the first time I put to task
making a new piece of art every single day for a year.

What are some challenges associated with designing daily?
Coming up with ideas I feel are original. I always strive for originality — it is almost impossible to attain
but the effort often conjures interesting results. Another challenge is simply finding the time to do it.
I have a full-time job in a creative field, so I have to separate my professional ideas from my personal
ideas. I have a family as well, so I tend to work late and think when my children are in bed.

Can you give me at least 5 benefits of partaking in this daily project?

  1. Keeps my brain fresh.
  2. Helps me identify my strengths, weaknesses and consistencies.
  3. Creatively challenging, and I love a challenge.
  4. Improves my ability to hone in on an idea and learn to execute it quickly as well as meticulously.
  5. Shows me creative sides to myself that i didn’t know I had.
  6. An interesting way to visually calendar my year; I can look at a piece and think more clearly about what was going on that day.

Where do you get ideas for your daily designs?
From everything. I try to absorb as much from every day life as i can. Also, memories from childhood, pop culture, observations of how the world is always changing in all aspects (socially, technologically, economically, etc.).

Any advice for anyone who wants to get started doing this?
Have fun and always be a student. No one can know everything, it’s better to absorb and learn all the time. Then apply that to your work and let it influence you to reshape it into something original.

Mike Duesenberg – 365 Album Covers

365 Album Covers Tumblr18

365 Album Covers19

How long did you design / have you been designing daily?
I’ve had the idea for quite a bit, but I didn’t start actually doing it till October 31st of this year.

What are some challenges associated with designing daily?

The biggest challenge is time. Some days are so busy, it’s hard to make time for this project. The idea is to dedicate an hour or two to the design, but sometimes the day flies by and you aren’t left with much time, which then affects the quality. So that’s been the biggest challenge. The second biggest challenge is trying to stay inspired. For 365albumcovers.tumblr.com20, I use http://www.flickr.com/commons21 as my photo source. The problem I’ve been running into however is that after a while, all these vintage photos tend to direct each piece in the same direction. So to solve that, I’ve been brainstorming up some ways on how to add more variety.

Can you give me at least 5 benefits of partaking in this daily project?

  1. Daily projects keep your mind working.
  2. It’s a nice creative break from the typical day-to-day design work.
  3. It gives you a chance to experiment with ideas that you may not be able to use on other projects.
  4. It gets your name out there! For instance, like this interview. It can be good press for you, as a designer.
  5. It’s nice to share these with friends and see what their feedback is.

Where do you get ideas for your daily designs?

I usually wait to see what the photo, band name and album name will be. Usually one of those will automatically inspire me to go towards a certain direction.

Any advice for anyone who wants to get started doing this?

Just have fun with it. Think of an idea that you can manage to do every day. The main reason you should do this is for self progression. If it gets some attention from other people, awesome. The problem I ran into is keeping it fresh. You may notice that I haven’t posted something since mid-November. I consider the first entries a trial run. I learned from it. Now I’ve compiled a few ways to keep the concept new and exciting to myself, which I plan on launching January 1st. So stay on the lookout!

Tom Judd

Tom Judd’s Everyday22

Tom Judd23

How long did you design / have you been designing daily?

I spent 1 year from November 2004 drawing a page a day, then in July 2007 I repeated the process for another 365 days.

What are some challenges associated with designing daily?
Keeping the motivation. Maintaining originality.

Can you give me at least 5 benefits of partaking in this daily project?

  1. It improved my drawing skills.
  2. It was a great way to generate ideas.
  3. It emptied my brain.
  4. It allowed me to fill empty time with something productive.
  5. It got me lots of work.

Where do you get ideas for your daily designs?
Each day was different. I think that is one of the benefits. You never know what you are going to see on your way to work.

Any advice for anyone who wants to get started doing this?
Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. As soon as I became aware that other people were looking at my daily output, it started to affect the work I was producing in a negative way.

Daily Projects Showcase

Jessica Hische – Daily Drop Cap

Daily Dropcap24

The Daily Drop Cap is an ongoing project by typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische25. Each day (or at least each work day), a new hand-crafted decorative initial cap will be posted for your enjoyment and for the beautification of blog posts everywhere.

Thomas Fuchs – A Heart a Day

Heart26

A Heart a Day27 is a blog by freelance illustrator, Thomas Fuchs. His goal is to incorporate a heart into one of his illustrations every day.

Chow Hon Lam – Flying Mouse 365

Flying Mouse - Cow28

The FM 365 Project29 is the result of Flying Mouse’s Project of doing one design per day for a whole year! Every week there are 7 new products available! These 7 new products are able for a quick pre-sale at a lower price for the entire week and once the week ends there are 7 newer products to replace them, and so on.

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver30

Mark Weaver31 is another designer/illustrator that decided to design something every day for one year. He has a plethora of styles in his designs.

Philip Tseng

Philip Tseng32

Philip Tseng33 has a unique style that he implemented into his daily designs. He chose a theme of fruits and vegetables and each day he designed something that started with a different letter of the alphabet.

Jonas Buntenbruch – DONE: Daily Design Workout

Daily Design Workout34

DONE35 was the personal daily design workout of Jonas Buntenbruch for 2008.
Every day he flexed his design skills by creating one piece in 30 to 60 minutes. The presented works range from scrap and sketches to photos, typographic experiments and random creative designs.

A New Year’s Resolution

Now that you’ve read interviews and seen some strong examples, I hope that you’re now inspired and ready to start on this wonderful daily design adventure. I want to propose a new year’s resolution to you: design something every day.

Each time you design something, you can submit it for everyone to see. Simply tweet the design along with #daily365 and everyone will be able to see your project. By the way, if you’re just starting out as a designer, this is an effective way to build your portfolio. The Smashing Editorial Team will monitor all submissions and present them in posts here at Smashing Magazine, every now and again. I guarantee that at the end of the year, you’ll be able to look back and say that, because of the daily design project that you completed, you’re a better and more well-rounded designer.

So who’s up for the challenge?

(ll)

↑ Back to topShare on Twitter

Former editor in chief of Designinformer.

  1. 1

    NessWorld Magazine

    December 22, 2009 4:15 am

    That is such an awesome idea! Really, it wouldn’t take that long. I’ve decided to design a different post header everyday, when I have a post, that doesn’t have a photograph.

    0
  2. 2

    Oh I am so on it. 2010 will be the year of the hustle anyway.

    0
  3. 3

    Great Article!! I agree that designing everyday keep you away from procrastination and self-doubt. I am inspired!!

    0
  4. 4

    Yeah a cooll initiative! Í have the same problem of always browsing the web and not doing a lot of designing. This way I can also upgrade my portfolio with the best stuff :D

    0
  5. 5

    Check out novlcuisine.com – a couple of guys I know doing a poster a day for a year.

    0
  6. 6

    Jack Watson-Hamblin

    December 22, 2009 4:43 am

    I’m kinda a newbie to design (been doing web stuff for only like 3 years now), so this will be great to build up my own portfolio.

    I’m going to start in the new year and launch a blog for it along with my own website seeming I don’t have one yet.

    Going to focus on trying out different areas of design and maybe even throw a bit of nerdy development and programming stuff in there seeming thats more what I do.

    Thank you for the inspiration, I really needed it to get me going onto this and I’m going to start tomorrow by starting a design for the website and blog.

    Great post, retweeted it straight away, I love your blog, can’t wait till your book gets here (stupid ground mail takes forever XD)

    Keep it up.

    0
    • 7

      I’m glad that you are jumping on board with this Jack.

      I can’t wait to see your designs. Definitely shoot me the link to your blog and I will check it out.

      And you are right, this experiment is not only for designers. Developers and writers can also get in on the fun as well.

      Photographers can definitely do something like this. My friend Joe has an iPhone picture of the day.
      http://www.joecavazos.com/home/2009/7/31/iphone-pic-project-turns-30.html

      Oh, and thank you for retweeting the article.

      0
  7. 8

    AGREE!

    ouch ! what i am doing here? :O :lol:

    0
  8. 9

    Sounds like a great challenge. I’m applying to a new studio next summer called Visual Communication in Denmark. For that I need a kickass portfolio. This most help me getting that.

    Thanks for the idea – which is great btw.

    0
  9. 10

    design and cooking every day – I`m in :) !

    0
  10. 12

    In germany we have something called ‘one day -one sketch / Krieg dein Arsch hoch!’ in some streetart-communities. Quite the same idea and i guess it works! You know where to get a flickr account, see you all in one year…

    0
  11. 13

    Great Idea! – I’ll give it a go for 2010… all I need is a theme now!

    hmmm…..

    0
  12. 14

    Great post Jad – thank you. As a novice – i am pushing everyday to enhance my skills. This is great motivation to continue to do so daily once I begin designing / developing. Thanks again

    0
  13. 15

    Great idea! Thank you!

    0
  14. 16

    That’s a bold message to send to your community :)

    “what if we spent less time surfing the Web looking for inspiration and more time creating and designing things?”

    So we should spend less time on smashingmagazine? Or should this be the exception :P

    Good idea though.

    0
    • 17

      It was a bold statement indeed.

      So we should spend less time on smashingmagazine?

      All we are asking is for you to design for 15-20 minutes while we usually surf the web for hours on end. Not much to give up right? Don’t worry, you will still have lots of time to read Smashing Magazine.

      0
  15. 18

    This is not a bad idea. I think I’m going to chunk challenges in months: daily [theme] photograph and daily illustration comes to mind.

    0
  16. 19

    It’s just like u red my mind… I’ve been thinking about 365 art project for a while… planing to start with 2010… hope that more people will try this and your article was more than helpful, great job done.

    Many thanks for sharing!

    Cheers!!!

    0
    • 20

      I’m glad that I was able to read my mind. It’s a skill of mine. :)

      Definitely give it a try in 2010, it will revolutionize your design skills.

      0
  17. 21

    What I like about this challenge: it can help with developing creativity and skills. I for one, need desperately to work on those skills, but I just keep finding excuses not to. I am a web programmer and would love to say I am a web designer with the same level of confidence.
    I will mark my calendar: January 1st – I will create design #1. Let’s see what 15-20 minutes a day will bring me.

    0
    • 22

      Cris, thanks for telling us what you like about the challenge. 15-20 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to practice, but if you have some free time or if you really think you get in the “zone,” then don’t stifle your creative juices and extend that period if you need to. Good luck with the project. I do hope that it makes you a better web designer.

      0
  18. 23

    ‘scuse me, but why don’t designers have more than 20 minutes per day to dedicate to this? Athletes and musicians, which you are using to prove you point that practice makes better, are investing at least 2-3 hours a day. If you really, really, want to excel, then obviously it holds true that the more time you spend, the better you become — therefore, rather than making personal development a 15 min a day project (1/4 of lunch break), you ought to make it your lifestyle.

    0
    • 24

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment and tell us what you think.

      but why don’t designers have more than 20 minutes per day to dedicate to this?

      To answer your question, I originally proposed to Vitaly to have a 30 minute to a 1 hour challenge. But we both decided that might be a little too much for everyone to handle, as most of the Smashing Magazine readers are already working in the creative industry. We are not saying that you can’t go past 20 minutes. If someone here is designing something and they feel like they didn’t get enough from the 20 minutes, then definitely feel free to extend the time.

      We just wanted to have a starting point for everyone. Thanks Althalos!

      0
  19. 25

    This is a great post for designers, I completely agree with all of it! One thing that I did pick up on was the “Practise makes better”, do you read Success Circuit?!?!

    0
  20. 26

    I love this idea, last year I tried to give up chocolate but this made me want chocolate within 4 hours of giving up. This is a better new years resolution.

    -1
  21. 27

    If you like the Daily Monster (or any other daily design sites) take a look at http://www.creaturesinmyhead.com

    Artist Andy Bell adds a new creature every day, and has been doing it for years. Really, really cool stuff.

    0
    • 28

      Thanks for sharing that Dave. Really nice inspiration for anyone who is going to try out the challenge. Andy Bell is an incredibly talented artist.

      0
  22. 29

    This is a great idea! I’ve been sketching on a daily basis to make note of possible designs and just to practice my conceptualization skills. I never even thought of featuring them as a post on my blog.

    Thanks Jad!

    0
  23. 30

    This is cool. I did it before with my photo blog. A photo a day sort of thing. Now I think I want to do it with my design blog starting 2010. Thanks.

    0
  24. 31

    Super idea! :)
    Will try it out, now i just need some themes…
    Like in the examples; drop cap, hearts, fruits, etc.

    Tips? :)

    0
    • 32

      Hello Mattis,

      Well, there are all sorts of things you can try out. You can choose quotes and design typographic posters. You can do a web design mock-up. You can try different styles such as grungy, minimal, or cartoonish. There are all sorts of ideas out there. Browse through the different examples and try to take some notes of things that stick out to you. You can even start of with just a blank canvas and just start experimenting with different ideas and effects to see what you can come up with.

      Keep us posted of you work. We’d love to see it.

      0
  25. 33

    This didn’t even need a post: Headline says it all.
    Now to DO IT…
    :)

    One humble suggestion (for me as well as “you”):
    If A YEAR seems like a lot, maybe try to do it every day for a month first? Then keep open the possibility to keep going for another month, and so on…

    0
    • 34

      Thanks for the compliments.

      If you read the article, I do mention that.

      If you don’t find it reasonable to design something daily for a whole year, then you could try instead for one month, or another more manageable time period.

      :)

      0
  26. 36

    Moin,
    great collection and this is like an asskick to get things done.
    An everyday ritual might be we what i need.

    0
  27. 37

    I totally agree with this article. I’ve always said that I’m not particularly good at anything — except for practice and perserverance. I’ve been designing something each day for quite some time now and it’s so satisfying to see how I am improving almost every day. You start to look at other people’s work with a different set of eyes as well.

    0
  28. 38

    great idea, I’m in, starting January 1st!

    0
  29. 39

    Great Idea, I’ll let me lazy backside sit out the rest of ’09 and I’ll start fresh in 2010!!

    0
  30. 40

    Great idea, and something I really need to do! Making design a daily habit will be a great way to build my portfolio. Thanks for the awesome daily design showcase examples.

    0
    • 41

      You are welcome Marilyn. If you don’t have a lot of experience, this project can definitely be a good portfolio builder, but you might have to spend more than 20 minutes on each design.

      BTW, you just gave me a good idea. I think for some, they can design a little bit of the same piece everyday. For example, if someone was doing a digital painting, they can break it down into a whole week. The point is that you are still practicing your skills everyday by working on a personal project.

      0
    • 42

      i am agree with this lady…^,^

      0
  31. 43

    So you suggest that we create a blog just to show that right? :)

    0
    • 44

      Hello Luís,

      You can definitely start a blog or you can just post it in a flickr account, behance, or any other image hosting service. But definitely tweet about it and include #daily365

      0
  32. 45

    I’ve tried that a few month ago. I didn’t last me long – about 5 days in row :)
    It’s not that easy if you prefer quality over quantity.
    But it’s worth to try it, of course.

    0
    • 46

      It is definitely worth a try. What would you say is the reason why you stopped?

      0
      • 47

        I can’t say I’ve stopped it completely. From time to time I still design something new. I think the main reasons I don’t do it on daily basis is a lack of ideas and time (it takes me about 2-3 hours to design something new).

        0
  33. 48

    Great post. I am going to brainstorm some ideas on what I want to do for a year.

    0
  34. 49

    Ok. Let’s do it!

    (can’t belive I just singed up for this, and I’ll be doing exams too…)

    But really, it’s a great idea and sure to help with inspiration and things like that. Practise makes perfect, and even if it’s something really simple, it’s still practise. Stoked.

    0
  35. 50

    This is great me and some buddies are going to do this. I love the idea thanks SM

    0
  36. 52

    Great article Jad. This is a good way to keep things fresh, and build up a nice little “inspiration file” for future projects. I think I’m definitely going to make this a goal for the new year.

    0
  37. 53

    wah why not? i’m in!

    0
  38. 54

    Great idea! I’m going to make it one of my goals, I will make a blog/library where I will post my progress!

    0
  39. 55

    I don’t really understand why this post has received such a positive response. It looks like most of these comments have been left by either students or freelancers. My objection is that if you work in a busy creative environment you should be using/practicing these skills every day anyway. Of course i research new techniques and skills to use but this time and effort goes towards creating the best work for our clients and not for my personal gain.

    I pretty much do design something new every day and every few weeks our creative team needs to develop concepts that will hold together whole campaigns and projects which takes a lot more care and attention. It’s a process that needs to be learnt by delivering results for real world clients. You only need a realtively small percentage of great work to get you an interview with a good agency. You don’t need a 365 page portfolio to demonstarte you are a good designer.

    Spend more time trying to get into the industry and less time bulking out your portfolio and you’ll find that you’ll be practicing these skills every day regardless.

    1
    • 56

      Will,

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts about the article.

      I think you are missing the whole point of the article. What I was trying to convey was that instead of browsing the web for hours at a time, why not take some of that time and design something?

      You said:

      “if you work in a busy creative environment you should be using/practicing these skills every day anyway.”

      This is true, but a lot of times, our client projects don’t help us to push our creativity to the limit. Maybe you may work in an agency that deals with a lot of corporate work. More often than not, a lot of the designs that you will be doing will be very corporate looking. Well, this challenge will be good to break out from that monotony and have a little fun experimenting with different design concepts and styles. What I see happens to a lot of designers is that when doing so much client work, they get in a rut and their designs start looking similar to each other.

      Also, when we created this challenge, it wasn’t meant to bulk up your portfolio. It’s more of a personal challenge. But hey, if you end up with some really nice work, it wouldn’t hurt to put it in your portfolio right?

      Anyway, thanks again Will for sharing your opinions with us and for adding to the discussion.

      2
  40. 57

    I like it. I’m not a designer, I’m more of a developer who used to be a designer, but I think I can apply this to my current work. Sketch a layout, develop a small tool, or even just follow one of the many tutorials out there.

    I’ll figure something out. I think the important thing is to just do something everyday and build skills.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    0
    • 58

      You’re welcome Dan. Actually, I think that this challenge would be perfect for developers who are looking to improve their design skills. It will definitely be a good time to practice some tutorials and to experiment with different designs.

      Keep us updated with your work.

      0
  41. 59

    Count me in!

    0
  42. 60

    Such a great idea! I am already on it.
    I have no idea how successful it will be. But still.. I am on! :)

    0
  43. 61

    Oh, that is such an awesome challenge!! I think I am up for it – I love 365 challenges :) Just completed my first one September this year, taking a picture a day in Sanford FL at http://sanford365.wordpress.com It was a fun project and I am actually starting again January 1st 2010. Might as well do the design challenge as a side project to go with it! To anyone who is thinking about it I can say: It is very fulfilling but at the same time, it can be very stressful and a big burden. When I was done, my first reaction was relief, but then after about 2 weeks I really missed it!! That’s why I am starting again – you might say, it’s quite addictive :)

    0
    • 62

      Congratulations on your first year.

      Thanks for joining the SM Challenge. 2 daily projects? That’s amazing!

      0
  44. 63

    I just noticed that you posted on your blog already that you are going to accept the challenge. Nice move! Way to tell everyone so you will have some accountability and some motivation to get it done. I hope that you will be able to say that you improved as a designer and illustrator because of this. :)

    0
  45. 64

    I love this article. I’m on this one for sure…

    0
  46. 65

    This is such a great article and idea. I totally agree with it. I am already thinking of how I can implement this as a plan for 2010.

    Thanks Jad

    0
  47. 66

    I really love this concept! I think I’ll start it today! Thanks for this inspirational idea!

    0
  48. 68

    Conclusion: “Practice is the best of all instructors”

    0
  49. 70

    I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a while actually. Might give it a try for a month and see what happens.

    0
    • 71

      I’d definitely love to see your designs Steven. I’m a big fan of your work.

      A month is actually really manageable. Keep me updated. I’d love to see your designs.

      0
  50. 72

    made it more than half way through 2009 on a Photo365, but after a death in the family I got off track for a couple weeks and then never picked it back up. :(

    0
  51. 74

    Count me in!

    0
  52. 75

    I am Glad to see this post and I really thanks to smashing magazine for this post and I really Liked the work and Inspiration which we get from this article and I feel we all will do everyday home work for our self to make designer community proud and make something better one day.

    0
  53. 76

    First off, thank you for the inspiring new years resolution (smoking is being delay till 2011 ;) ).

    I’ll pick up the glove and take on this challenge, created a wordpress, youtube and a vimeo account for starters.
    As the previous sentence might have given away, my #daily365 will be involving a video a day.

    As tempting as it is, I’ll not start till the first of january, to get a clean year.
    So, watch out for the hashtags.

    0
    • 77

      A video a day sounds like a great idea. Good luck with that. Will probably be harder than a design a day, but thanks for taking the challenge.

      0
  54. 78

    This is a cool idea I’ve seen this implemented in flickr with photos (365days) and some group are doing 52 weeks a photo each week for a year .. If you think that 365 days is hard you can try 52 weeks instead .. I will try to join : )

    0
  55. 79

    I’m in, and I’m starting tonight!

    0
  56. 80

    Thanks for posting your blog Erin. I will definitely check it on January 1st to see if you started your New Year’s resolution. :)

    0
  57. 81

    Dude, I’ve been following you on Twitter and your blog for a little while now, and this has quickly become my favourite post of yours! It makes so much sense, and for someone just starting out in the industry like me, it makes even more sense!

    Thanks so much for this, once I sort out the cantankerous design I’m trying to get working for my own site, I’ll get to work on the blog portion so I can get this challenge happening!!!

    0
    • 82

      I appreciate your kind words Laneth. Glad you found this article useful. You should really participate in this challenge especially because you are just starting out in the industry. I promise that you will get a lot better because of this daily practice.

      0
  58. 83

    I’m definitely on board for 2010! Can’t wait!

    0
  59. 84

    Cool, you already created a blog? Thanks for participating. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s designs.

    0
  60. 85

    I’m up! But I’m a developer, not a designer, so I think I will develop something every day for my own new framework, I will start in january 2

    0
  61. 86

    Cool idea, wonder if this could backfire and lead to some kind of creative burnout though

    0
    • 87

      That sounds like it could happen but if you read the interviews of people who have tried the experiment, a lot of them mentioned that it actually got their creative juices flowing.

      0
  62. 88

    One of my New Year’s resolution is to design more often. When I’m not working I tend to waste my time watching television or playing games. What I’m going to do is start to design WordPress themes. Some for free and others for use commercially to download by paying a fee.

    0
    • 89

      That’s a good idea Luke. I think it would be good for any designer to work on the areas that they are not so good at for this project. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

      0
  63. 90

    This is the neatest idea ever. This article just inspired me to start a blog. I’m pumped! I will start in January at the latest.

    0
  64. 92

    I am intimidated because I am just an amateur designer. But this sounds like fun, so I will try to start small. I’ll maybe work on it for a week, then maybe extend it to two, and then a month, and who knows, I might go for a year. :D

    0
    • 93

      That’s the spirit! It will definitely help you take your design skills to the next level. This challenge is great for amateurs.

      0
  65. 94

    I freakin love this. I just wish I had the will power to do it. I know I’ll start out strong and then just lose my momentum. But I’m going to try anyways!

    0
    • 95

      Try it out Jim. Maybe you can start with just a week or a month first and see how it goes from there. Good luck.

      0
  66. 96

    Brilliant idea, Jad. I love the sense of experiment and dedication an initiative like this creates and very excited to see what those who take up the challenge (and who decide to make their creations public) come up with.

    0
    • 97

      Thanks Jeremy. Your article helped reinforce this post. I was already writing the article when I received your Experimentation article and it really further helped me in putting this challenge together.

      0
  67. 98

    Nice Article Jad!

    0
  68. 99

    Great idea! I will be drawing ten 100 dollar bills everyday for one year.

    0
  69. 100

    having studied graphic design about 5 years ago and working in corporate jobs since then in the graphics or marketing industries i have found that the day i left college i pretty much stopped designing for myself, stoped designing what i want and started to do what my bosses or clients wanted.. doesnt matter how creative it is designing for someone else and designing for yourself are two completely different things which makes designing for yourself sometimes impossible, being in front of a computer designing for other ppl all day can be soooo mentally draining its not funny!!

    this is really a massive challenge for me, but its great and the time allowed for it is a perfect start not having designed for myself in years… this is exactly what i needed to read having had a pretty crappy 2009 so thank you!! in saying all of that my 2010 new years resollution will be to take up this challenge and try to design something every day, yay im excited =)

    thankkss

    0
    • 101

      Jayda, I am so excited for you. It’s great that you were inspired after reading this article.

      I agree with you. I work in the corporate world as well for an email marketing company and a lot of times, my designs all focus towards our brand. That’s why designing for myself has been something that I enjoyed doing, as I can try out different effects and styles, and I don’t have anybody telling me that the design doesn’t work because it’s just for me.

      Looking forward to seeing your work. Post your link so we can all see it.

      0
  70. 102

    Lasitha Rajakaruna

    December 22, 2009 7:31 pm

    wow. Great Post Jad.
    Thanks a lot. :)

    0
  71. 103

    Thanks for the advice(s) – and for this post. I’m definitely doing this for the upcoming year. It’s like the 365 photo thing (you shoot a photo each day of the year), but with doodling and designing.

    I like it. *thumbs up*

    0
  72. 104

    This is something exciting to look forward to in the new year. I really appreciate this article and the talented folks who offered up advice. I’m so doing this!

    0
  73. 105

    Nice Post Jad!
    Keep up the good work :)

    0
  74. 106

    Good one Jad.

    0
  75. 107

    LET’S DO IT!

    I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time, figuring most of the best people in their field do this.

    Just writing this article, just posting this idea, reaffirmed that I’m going to do this.

    0
  76. 108

    i am on too!

    0
  77. 109

    superb post

    0
  78. 110

    That’s great idea. I’ll be working on this project 365 days………starting from 1st of Jan 2010

    Looking forward to a great design journey.

    Thanks,
    Atul

    0
  79. 111

    Nice idea :) think I’ll try that ^_^

    0
  80. 112

    very well written article.. m allready following this steps since last 3 months.. and now i increased my daily practise time to 2 hours.

    0
  81. 113

    A great idea, I’m just about to complete 365 days of not smoking so this can be my next project. i have one question though if someone can advise……as a newish designer, where would be the best place to post my works? I have been dabbling with the idea of a blog for a fewe months now but it’s a bit of a minefield.
    Any advice would be great……..cheers and enjoy the season

    0
  82. 114

    I think that designing something everyday is great for 2 reasons :
    - First it’s a great way to experiment. As an illustrator, i think that sometimes, i always do the same things again and again with the same style. Designing something everyday is a great way to experiment things and to use techniques that I’m not comfortable with, without the fear of falling.
    - Second, it’s a great way to make “little” ideas become important. I have many ideas in one day. 99% are little (ex:”I should try to draw a flower with ears”) and 1% are “big”.Most of the little ideas become just a doodle in the corner of a notebook, and most of the big become true projects.
    Designing something everyday is a great way to get all those little ideas together, to combine them in a big project, a “one year or more” project.

    0
  83. 115

    That’s cool i am innnnn from 1 January
    and i am starting one blog on it my daily works.

    Journey started.

    0
  84. 116

    excellent article Jad!
    it’s probably been mentioned before, but working as a creative (any kind of creative), even though you do indeed create something every day, constraints from clients and deadlines make it rather impossible to make it something new and exciting (at least, new and exciting for you) every time. and you’ll never use an approach that’s not tried and true (at least for you) for a job- that’s just unprofessional. this is where personal projects come in. those are absolutely priceless when it comes to discovering new approaches to your work. you simply don’t have time to experiment when you’re on a deadline. personal work (and a lot of it) is the only way to keep fresh- and excited about what you’re doing…
    and, a lot of little ideas might just make for a big idea one day ;)

    cheers
    thomas

    0
  85. 117

    Cool idea! Thanx!

    1
  86. 118

    I’ve been doing this alongise another designer for the past 295 days. We each design an A4 poster every single day, and I’ve loved every minute of it. It just keeps your ideas fresh and lets you keep hold of that design soul you’re sometimes in danger of losing when you’re working on a particularly soul-destroying job during the day.

    0
  87. 119

    I’ve liked this idea for very long time. But i wasn’t able to start. Thankx for the post. I’m going to start from today.
    Its a very very inspiring post. I like it a lot.

    0
  88. 120

    My new years resolution is to make one improvement to my company website and administration panel. No matter how small.

    0
  89. 121

    Every day that is ^_^

    0
  90. 122

    Hey,

    Great article, I’ve been thinking about doing a small project on my own but never really found the courage to work on it after work. I guess it’s exactly the kind of inspiration that I needed.

    I’m no designer, I’m a web developper (mainly back-end coding) interested in design, so I’ll do my best to improve my skills during this project, which will also include some front-end coding.

    My idea is to design a poker widget to replay interesting hands from hand history, so I’ll try to tackle this project one 30-minutes work session at a time.

    0
  91. 123

    WOW i am up for this amazing challenge, this is simply a nice and effective to not only improve your skills but also will keep your mind fresh and new ideas will just come in everyday :)

    0
  92. 124

    Looking forward to it… I’m down!

    0
  93. 125

    Its something I’ve tried myself..25 Sketches of Christmas… I got as far as 16 before work and homelife had to take priority. Perhaps I will try a project like mentioned in the article…thanks for the post.

    0
  94. 126

    I do try to sketch something everyday, either in my sketchbook or on notepaper during work. Not a bad idea to throw some design work in there. Could combine the two as well.

    I like the idea of posting it to my blog each day(ish) too.

    0
  95. 127

    My eighth grade teacher always noted that it was “perfect practice makes perfect. You could practice 1 + 2 = 4 all day long. Or in other words be practicing incorrectly and you aren’t going to be getting any better….”

    0
  96. 128

    Great Article!

    0
  97. 129

    I can’t wait to get started. Your post has made me create a wordpress just to document things, to be held accountable. I find this extremely exciting because I am literally at the very beginning stages of my design career/life. I’ve only been in design school for 2 quarters (so roughly 6 months). So I cannot wait to actually document my ACTUAL humble beginnings and really see how far I come a year from now or two years from now and ect.

    0
  98. 130

    This guy – Paleo – wrote 365 songs in a single year!
    http://www.paleo.ws/ scroll down to ‘the song diary’

    0
  99. 131

    don’t most web designers already design something every day? My new years resolution is to take more time off :D

    0
  100. 132

    In the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about it. … I feel more inspired now and will take on the challenge.

    0
  101. 133

    I love this idea. I already started! Let’s hope this one lasts longer than my other resolutions.

    0
  102. 134

    Marcus Williamson

    December 23, 2009 5:09 pm

    I may be in. Thanks for the post. I am a young upstart so this seems right up my alley.

    0
  103. 135

    Challange accepted. I won’t be waiting for 2010. I’m starting today.

    0
  104. 136

    Eko Setiawan - camp26

    December 23, 2009 7:55 pm

    This article is motivating me to change, yes we have to practice every day to become better and better and better…
    Thanks

    0
  105. 137

    I’ll take you up on this offer!

    0
  106. 138

    Just completed a visual design class so this will be a great way to keep exploring the elements and the software. Hey, a stick figure is a design. Have to think of a theme though…….. probably maybe I’m IN! What a great inspiration :-) Thinking…… gah. Enough with that thinking business!

    Challenge accepted!

    0
  107. 140

    I’m in :)
    I’m a webdesigner for more than 10 years, and I never thought about my work as “designing something” so now it’s time to change the way I work – I’ll do design something every day – see you 1st JAnuary 2010 with your designs :):)

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

    0
  108. 141

    Wow, what a great Idea. I’m in! :)

    0
  109. 142

    Great man…

    I kept myself thinking why I’d never thought about it … its a so simple idea and so amazing.

    Thank you.

    0
  110. 143

    such a great idea, i draw in a sketch book all the time, so why not!

    0
  111. 144

    I’m sold. Nice article.

    0
  112. 145

    I guess its high time to start drawing everyday, in spite of the heavy work schedule. It will really pull us from n no of thinking & questioning abt “will it be ok ?” go on & on… to bringing our original thoughts & ideas.
    Surely going to start with an inspirational year.
    Great article

    0
  113. 146

    O Really awesome article

    0
  114. 147

    I design 4 days a week. But never thought about it as much interesting like to design anything everyday! Sounds very exciting!

    0
  115. 148

    Very nice. Kind of like blogging once a day for one year.

    0
  116. 149

    Yes, we should do this ;)

    0
  117. 150

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    December 25, 2009 2:59 am

    The way I live my life it’s quite challenging to do this on a daily basis, but I have to admit I am inspired and motivated to give it a fair try. @Floris on twitter with hashtag #daily365 starting January 1st. Oh sh!ntersting hobby for 2010.

    0
  118. 151

    I am IN! I’ll try my best for that. thanks for inspiration!

    0
  119. 152

    Its really an outstanding initiative so the year of 2010 will be an artistic year for me :)

    0
  120. 153

    This is a wonderful new year’s resolution!! it will be one of my resolutions for sure!! Great post!!

    0
  121. 154

    Wow! Inspiring interviews, Im on it! Who wants to join me doing this?

    0
  122. 155

    I really love the idea!
    Mostly I design websites, but I think it is a bit to ambitious to create a new webdesign everyday. One logo a day instead would be possible, Or album cover. Or Both. Donno yet.

    Great, I’m gonna start in 2010!

    0
  123. 156

    Yes! I’m definitely in! Great idea and excellent motivation

    0
  124. 157

    Muhammad Usman Arshad

    December 26, 2009 5:24 am

    Big thanks for this great article, it inspired me and help me a lot. thanks again

    0
  125. 158

    —taking a deep breath—-I’m there! *Smashing* idea!

    0
  126. 159

    This is now my top new year’s resolution! It’s a great project!
    Gonna start working on a new blog just for this and start posting one work everyday for 365 or maybe longer, who knows? I already sketch something almost everyday to keep my mind busy.
    I think I’ll post a new design/illustration everyday and get inspiread by what every month of the year means to me and others. January could have topics like the new year, the first sales of the year, the number one theme, maybe a zodiac theme, etc. I think I’m inspiread already… :)

    Thank you! This will be great for me, cause I’m still looking for a new job.

    0
  127. 160

    I am on board too …. I am inspired and agreed to design anything everyday … :)

    0
  128. 161

    Nice.. That’s what I try to do all the time – design, design, design =)))

    0
  129. 162

    Hello, I uploaded a new work on my blog, however I didn’t have de chance to put here the link. I received a new computer and was busy installing and preparing everything.
    That’s Why Yesterday I didn’t upload anything… Photoshop wasn’t ready and I though the priority was to get the computer ready.

    0
  130. 163

    nice idea

    I’m designer for 2 years but i can say that I’m just starting out as a designer

    so let’s start

    Thank you

    0
  131. 164

    And again my comment got deleted by someone, could someone please tell me why? I just posted my site so people can follow me on my challange.

    I’m in too (third time saying this:p)

    0
  132. 166

    Im in! From now into the new year everyday I will be writing down ideas for me to look at if I get a little stuck for ideas. Now I know I havent drawn for a number of years but have always wanted to get back into it and incorporate it more into my company and proposals.

    Im looking forward to it and will get paper, pencils and pens at the ready.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    0
  133. 167

    Steady! i am going to jump in the wagon :)

    0
  134. 168

    very inspirational….I’m thinking about my new year resolutions now…..thanks for your option

    0
  135. 169

    Great idea!

    0
  136. 170

    I read and retweeted this a few days before I went on my Christmas hols, and now I’m back I decided to come back to this post and mark it as my homepage in the hopes it will give me the kick up the backside I need to do this!

    Good luck to everyone taking part in this challenge, and I hope you all (and me!) get a lot out of it. If it makes us better designers, then it’s worth it, right?

    Li (@lovelidesigns)

    0
  137. 171

    I accepted this challenge last week and here’s my blog “TEN” where I will post my designs.
    I’m starting January 1, 2010!!! I didn’t go with a theme other than exploring design elements and software. I’m limiting the time to 20-60 minutes, however a design may evolve over days. Very busy with class so that’s how I’ll manage this. What FUN!!! :-)

    0
  138. 172

    Great article! Good advices! Thanks a lot!

    0
  139. 173

    Challenge accepted! This is exactly the thing I need to kick me out of my complacency.
    My blog will now be turned from something that I’ve been using to vent my frustrations to a progress log.

    0
  140. 174

    I was changing my facebook profile picture each day starting last Feb, I would love to share them with you all my flickr link is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35275570@N05/

    feel free to comment! cheers – Andrea Cutler

    0
  141. 175

    I must remind everyone that this is a really good method. It improves our techniques and our creativity, once we create new things everyday. Practice makes us better and the need of new ideas everyday improves our creativity.
    If you’re not following it yet I suggest it ;)

    0
  142. 176

    Wow! Great Idea… I´m going to begin from January 1st…

    0
  143. 177

    Hi guys!

    I’m thinking about #daily365 starting January 1st. It will be my new hobby for 2010! Thanks for this inspirational article!
    Follow my daily design advance in
    Have a Happy New Year!!

    ^_~

    0
  144. 178

    Yeah! Great idea :D
    I’m going to start too :)

    0
  145. 179

    Great article and very inspirational. I just might give it a shot in 2010.

    0
  146. 180

    Hello people.
    I can’t get enough thanking Jad for this idea!
    I’m following this method eight days and it’s already showing benefits!
    My technique in Photoshop (program selected by me for this works) is improving really fast.
    I can do things I never thought I would learn so fast and easily.
    Sometimes the easier techniques are the ones that look more difficult to use because we can do it several times in the same work.

    However I’m facing a “problem”. I got this blog: http://365design.wordpress.com/ where I put my works but I don’t get much audience, and the people who goes there don’t comment at all… 600 views – 5 comments… isn’t very good :S Probably the designs aren’t very good.
    But I think that this will change. I must be optimist ;)
    So after reading this article: http://designinformer.com/understanding-value-constructive-discussion-design-community/ I decided to change a little the way I post in the blog.

    P.S: I’m sorry for all my English mistakes and errors but I’m portuguese and it’s not that easy to speak 100% correctly another language. :S

    0
  147. 181

    I am up for this challenge! I think I will use Tumblr to share. Thanks for the tips!

    0
  148. 182

    Sounds like a nice idea. I plan to make a valiant attempt at it, although already the one drawback I can see is that I don’t always have access to the internet to update my status. I think I need to invest in buying a laptop for when I travel.

    0
  149. 183

    nice!!

    i’ll try it from my first day in 2010.

    ^__^

    0
  150. 184

    hey, count me in ! :D

    0
  151. 185

    What a great idea ! I am not a graphic designer, but interested in this field. I will join this challenge and see what will happen in a year :).

    p.s. comments are welcome in any language :)

    0
  152. 186

    I made this my homepage.

    0
  153. 187

    I thought I would join the wave of artists / designers / developers and regular Joes like myself in the New Years resolution to design something every day. My idea to take a household item and use it to create a character.

    0
  154. 188

    I really want to give this a go. I don’t have a decent camera so I’d be wasting my time with the Flickr 365. But I’ve got photoshop and I love learning new techniques! Great idea :)

    0
  155. 189

    I’m up for the Challenge. As a designer and the owner of Paige1Media and Paige1Publishing I design and work with a lot of Authors and writers. One of my favorite design pieces is created bookmarks for them and their readers.

    0
  156. 190

    Yes!I am going to so do this.

    0
  157. 191

    Yeah i’m in!
    I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while now, and this is the push i need.
    Thank you SmashingMag!

    0
  158. 192

    To participate please use Twitter (Each time you design something, you can submit it for everyone to see. Simply tweet the design along with #daily365 and everyone will be able to see your project. )

    1

↑ Back to top