This Week's Challenge: Rifftastic

Finding steady employment has been hard for many of today’s designers.

A few years ago, when our economy slowed down, many agencies and companies ended up cutting back on marketing, advertising, and other core activities that require designers. In the aftermath, the market was flooded with thousands of highly talented design professionals.

In conversations with some of my out-of-work colleagues who have struggled to land a stable gig, many of them are now using their time off to seek out creative and fulfilling work—whether for new clients or for their own personal projects and efforts. For those that haven’t fared well, there often aren’t many stones to overturn for new jobs—and some are falling back on previous professions or other skills lateral to design, until they can land just the right opportunity.

This challenge is for you to help convince designers, through design, to not be designers in the immediate future.

Your local municipal government has tasked you with creating an eye-catching poster promoting the new career center that just opened in your town—specifically speaking to retraining out-of-work designers. Can you sell your creative peers on why they should find alternative employment? Take 30 minutes to sketch out your ideas.

If you have extra time, design the career center from the inside out, knowing you’re creating a space for people to give up what they want to do. What would the experience be like? What kind of materials would a designer receive there regarding retraining that they couldn’t find anywhere else?

The above artwork is by Little Brown Pen, a fine art photography and illustration boutique founded by Nichole and Evan Robertson. It is from a 12-month calendar that spoofs the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster that has made the rounds. Could you imagine your own posters in this style that could help guide out-of-work designers?

Want more challenges? The first 24 pages of Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills are available free on Scribd.

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