This Week's Challenge: My Design Graph

My Design Graph

Don’t believe it when other designers tell you, “You’re only as good as your last project.” It’s the trajectory of our career that tells the story of our growth as designers. Some designers just keep creating the same project over and over again—which may lead to some solid design work, but it does little to push them into new and unexplored territory. The resulting portfolio will show competency in craft, but little curiosity.

Much in the same way that we meander toward the coffee shop around the corner for our espresso fix, breaking ourselves out of professional ruts takes concerted, mindful effort over time. In this challenge, you’ll dive into the nuts and bolts of what makes your work tick, and uncover what new directions you may want to take in the next phase of your career.

In 60 minutes, look over at least 10 of the past designs you’ve created. Based on patterns that you detect in use of typography, grid, color, photo and illustration use, and other factors, create an 11″x17″ chart that quantifies major trends in your work. Use this chart to highlight opportunities for new approaches you can attempt in the next few months to spur your growth as a designer.

If you’re feeling even more adventurous, draw inspiration from the work of Nicholas Felton at Feltron.com and create a brief report of the trends you’ve exhibited across your last year’s complete portfolio, as well as any other artistic outputs.

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

One thought on “This Week's Challenge: My Design Graph

  1. Derek Oscarson

    Right on. I once worked under a Creative Director type who would create the same layout over and over for different clients. Sure, he knew how to sell it but he was also universally mocked behind his back for never taking any chances. I also knew there was only so much to learn from someone like that. So, his critiques of my work were never really take seriously, and for good reason. 

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