November 8, 2011

2 Cent Tuesday #2: Do a project just for you.

Welcome to today’s 2 Cent Tuesday (on Wednesday)! Last weeks 2 cents was a little wordy so I am going to try to keep this one shorter and to the point. The topic is - do a project just because you want to. Period. In my opinion one of the best ways to stay inspired, keep yourself busy and make your portfolio (online or print) look amazing is to do work that you love. Work you love also tends to be work you are really good at. If it's not than doing more of it just for the heck of it is only going to make you better.

So, what kinds of projects should you be working on? Well, what kind of work do you want to get? Show projects in your portfolio that reflect the type of work you dream of doing. When I first started putting together my print portfolio I got some really great advice – design the heck out of everything. If you have designed a really great logo for a client and you can clearly see the potential for there to be so much more then don't stop! Do it just for fun, just to make your portfolio that much more amazing! Here are 5 ideas to get you started on a project just for you.

#1. Go to your favorite restaurant, ask for their “to go” menu and re-design everything. Make them a better logo, a better menu, and an amazing add that they could run in their local paper. Get some great inspiration from sites like The Art of the Menu - photo above taken from this site.

#2. Design a “leave behind”. Imagine you just got an interview at the place you have been dying to work for as long as you can remember. You are going to show them your work, you are going to smile and be as charming as possible. But, what is going to make them remember you long after you are gone? Design something that says something about who you are as a designer that you can leave with them. Photo above via Laura Berglund.

uppercase#3. Dying to get more editorial projects? Team up with a great photographer and design several layouts for a magazine. It can be a magazine that already exists or one that you just made up. Get some great inspiration from Uppercase Magazine.

janes#4. Brand yourself. Do you think that branding is where it’s at? Do you yourself have a brand identity? Take time to go through the whole branding process with yourself. Design everything – business cards, portfolio, invoices, letterhead, etc. I know a couple of designers who actually do this every year at the beginning of the year just for good practice.

Screen shot 2011-11-08 at 10.50.12 PM#5. Would you like to do more packaging design? Think of a product that you know you buy just for the packaging. I know when I walk down the cleaning isle at Target I have a very hard time making up my mind about what to buy because so many of the bottles are beautifully designed. Need help making your project look legit? Check out sites like Live Surface. They allow you to put your design on pretty much anything!! (Photo Credit: Lovely Package)


SARAH said...

these ideas are ridiculously practical and motivating! thanks!

janis said...

You are so talented. Mike loves doing this kind of stuff... I'm going to show him this post when he gets home!

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

I want to hire you to give me private design classes.

Leisa Tapia said...

not that it's relivent to your world, but to my world, I did a project yesterday... just added it to the other mundane tasks (read: chores) of motherhood, and I felt so So SO much more fulfilled to have created something!!! that- and I do a little domestic goddess dance for myself if I ever get a chore done... even in mommy-land we need to be inspired (esp. if you're not already one of those bright and shiney and fabulous super mormon moms)

so... that's my 2 cents back at ya :)

Leisa Tapia said...


Jessica Comingore said...

This is fantastic + so inspiring. Already got my creative wheels turning. Thanks for this!

Rebecca Waldron said...

Wow! Brilliant ideas and very motivating. I need to get to work doing things I love, even if no one is paying me for them. Then, hopefully someday they will!