30 days of design

The very first challenge of 2018

1st January 2018

It’s the start of 2018 and, after the Christmas break (a time for copious amounts of turkey and general laziness), we’re all eager to kick off the new year with a bang.

At MonkeySource, we’re strong believers in challenging ourselves and taking every opportunity possible to learn new skills. And in this industry, we’re very lucky that the internet is jam-packed full of things to help us in this process.

Enter: 30 days of design challenge

This challenge is exactly what it says on the tin: the idea is to design something new every day. For this project, I will be using a random object generator and creating a small illustration (or icon) every day, for 30 days, in around 15 minutes.

For maximum results, I’m not going to be sticking to a certain style, but trying to use different styles every single day in order to push myself out of my comfort zone to make the most of this challenge.

See you in 30 days!

Halfway through:

So, now I’ve made it halfway through this challenge, I’m starting to actually see some results. We’re very busy at MonkeySource, so at the start of this challenge, I will admit, whilst balancing projects here, there and everywhere, it was hard not to forget to do this every day.

However, I have now mastered my morning routine and have got into the swing of making this one of the first things I do. I’m already incredibly surprised at how kicking off my day by spending as little as 10 minutes doing something very ‘creative’ increases my productivity and motivation.

Although hard to measure, I think the 15 or so minutes I have spent doing this challenge every morning has easily been made up elsewhere with increased productivity throughout the rest of the day.

End of challenge findings

Increased productivity

I am surprised at how adding to my workload actually made me work harder in general. And not because I felt I needed to, it just happened.

Working with time constraints

I’m the type of person who’s lucky enough to thrive under pressure anyway, so I knew I’d be relatively good at getting results in this type of situation. However, I noticed I definitely got more comfortable with the challenge as the month went on, and through early mistakes of trying to accomplish too much in the time given I was able to eighty-six the unachievable ideas before getting into them.

Not relying on resources

When there are so many available free icons, shapes and illustrations out there; it’s hard not to rely on them every day. They make tasks so much quicker when you need that boost. Although, I actually learned that in the time it can sometimes take to find what you’re looking for, you can probably make it yourself even quicker if you put your mind to it.

Experimentation with new styles

Every designer has a style that always turns out best for them. No designer is perfect at everything. So this was a great chance for me to push myself out of my comfort zone. For example, day 17 (the lipstick), I wouldn’t usually create anything in this style, but in this instance, I think it actually worked pretty well.

Practice makes perfect

Hardly surprising, but doing the same thing every day for 30 days made me much more confident in my abilities more and more as the time went on, even when I was trying something new. And where I had struggled or made mistakes in earlier designs, I could take these lessons forward with me.

It was surprisingly fun

Whatever you do every day from 9 ’til 5, you should enjoy it. You’ll be more successful that way.

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