I’m going to make a very bold statement. Having a daily project is the most important thing you can do as a Designer. Now of course this is speaking towards the creative side of being a Designer and not so much the business side, although I will be discussing how it helps you in your professional career. So why is it so important that you have a daily project?
First and foremost it simply gets you into the habit of creating everyday. I can’t even begin to stress to you how important this is. Before I started my daily number project (you can check that out on my Instagram @cm_vernon) I was stuck in a creative rut, stagnant, and non-creative. Once I started that project I saw an immediate boost in how I thought creatively and how I problem solved visually. Now I’ll be honest, has it been easy creating everyday? No, it certainly hasn’t, but allowing myself time out of every day to really zone in on my work, have fun with it, and design something unique has allowed me to grow more personally than anything else I’ve ever done as a Designer.
A daily 365 day project isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s a serious challenge. Life happens, things come up, and other things get in the way, but if you allow yourself time every single day to do something creative with your time you’re going to be rewarded so much that you won’t even remember how hard it was at times to stay productive. This is another reason why it’s so important to have this daily project. As a Designer it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Not comfortable with Logo Design? Do one every day. Not good at handlettering? Letter a word every single day. In this field you have to constantly be changing, growing, evolving, and improving. You can’t, and will not, grow as a Designer without getting out of your comfort zone. Ever heard of that quote, “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”? Start a daily project and you’ll see just how true that statement is.
Not only is a daily project important for the sake of creating and challenging yourself, but it’s also important for growing a network of fellow Designers that encourage and challenge you. Some of the best tools you can have as a Designer is the people you surround yourself. I think as a Designer you’re almost always born with a competitive nature that gives you the drive to succeed and be the best at what you do. So why not surround yourself with designers who really challenge you to be better and fuel your drive to be your best? But it’s not just about being better than everyone else, it’s about supporting each other and giving encouragement when the time is right. Every creative out there at some point in their career has “off days” where nothing seems to come out right. I personally have had several of these days even in the short time of starting my daily project. But I always had fellow designers that I’ve met that were there to encourage me and push me to keep going, and I can’t stress how important that is. If I hadn’t started my daily project I wouldn’t have met these designers to inspire and push me.
Since we’re on the subject of networking and finding other designers that share your passion, let’s talk about marketing. One of the most surprising things I’ve discovered since starting my project was that I can use it as a way to market myself. Instagram is such an amazing and powerful platform, especially for designers. Don’t think there are people out there who are interested in your work? Wrong. Let me challenge you. Start a daily project of your own, utilize an effective hashtag strategy (Instagram allows 20 hashtags per post, do some research on best tags to use for your area of work) and I can almost guarantee you that you’ll see a jump in your followers within 3 months. When I first started I had a little over 30 followers (sad I know), and at this moment after 96 days of my custom numbers I’ve grown my following to 220 people. Now that might not sound like a lot to you, but that means 200 people out there are truly interested in my work, and that is incredibly inspiring. That’s 200 people that want to see my work every single day, and that’s 200 people that I can market to. So why not start your own project, why not begin marketing your own personal brand through the work you produce?
If you think about it in the long run, a daily project is going to help you more than any other project you could do. 365 days, 365 individual pieces of work. Can you believe that? One year from today you could have 365 pieces of work to show someone. A lot of Designers are always worried about their portfolio and how many pieces should they put in it and if they have enough work to show. Problem solved. Even if you didn’t use all those pieces, and you more than likely wont, you could use 10% and still have 36 pieces of work to show. That’s more than a substantial amount of work for a portfolio. Not to mention it shows clients and potential employers that you have the drive and motivation to produce work on a daily basis.
So what are you waiting for?
What are your thoughts on daily projects? Have you already started one, or plan on starting one? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to follow your projects.