30 Days Of Design | What I Learned

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On April 17th, I began a #30DaysOfDesign challenge to keep myself productive while I look for a new job. During undergrad I only shot for school assignments. I did the occasional fashion show but for the most part, it was for assignments only. Now that undergrad is over I only have a few projects that I like enough to put in my portfolio (mainly from only one class). Isn't that sad? I didn't push myself to do more and it's one of my biggest regrets.

Now that I'm starting my graphic design journey I vowed to not let this happen. To hold myself accountable I posted each design on my design IG so if I missed a day it would mess up my schedule. 30 days later... I'm done! I successfully completed 30 whole days. The only day I skipped was Mother's Day for obv. reasons. To commemorate this personal accomplishment, I wanted to share a few lessons I learned.

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Adobe cc isn't as hard as I thought

When you're a beginner looking at the Creative Cloud, it can seem absolutely daunting. There are a million tools and effects to use so where do you begin? Coming from a photo background, I'm pretty familiar with PhotoShop so switching to Illustrator wasn't too much of a shock. I learned how to use the pen tool enough to create shapes that actually look like something. I'd use a reference image and break it down into simple shapes (circles, rectangles) then manipulate them into what I want. 

InDesign wasn't as daunting as I thought either. During my first semester I created a magazine and website spread  - it was awful. Awful as in it will never see the light of day. This time I took my time to explore different layouts to see what would be visually pleasing. I got more and more comfortable as the days went on.

Motivation comes in waves

There would be days where I would wake up and have an idea and others where I had nothing. On those other days, I would stare at my computer and hope something would come. Instead of saying fuck it and skipping that day (like I normally would) I'd turn to Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. I follow some really awesome illustrators and designers that have gotten me out of my rut at least a 1/3 of the month. Inspiration isn't an eternal pool that you can dive in whenever you want. There's nothing wrong with looking to your idols and peers. However, I made sure to never copy anyone's work. There's a fine line between copying and drawing from inspiration and I didn't want to even come close to that line. 

It's ok to have an off day

Like motivation, there would be some days where I'd create something I really loved and others where I produced absolute crap. If you see my IG feed, you'll see which days those are. Instead of beating myself up about it, I convinced myself that it's ok! It's impossible for an artist to create a masterpiece every single time. During undergrad we often heard that photographers will shoot 100 shitty images before they get a good one. I'm still learning so fucking up is bound to happen. If I keep beating myself up over it, I'll continue to hold myself back out of fear of creating something ugly.

In all, I think I learned 50% about designing and 50% about myself. I am a perfect representation of "you are your own worst enemy" but I managed to push past this. I pushed myself to design something when I really didn't want to. I stuck to something because it was important to me and I didn't want to quit. Now, I have several works that I want to add to my portfolio that aren't class assignments.

l'll definitely be taking a break from challenges but next I think I want to do a typography challenge to get acquainted with more fonts. I also may try a drawing challenge because God knows I need help in that department.

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All of the images in this post were made during this challenge so let me know that you think!