Do you do personal design projects?

personal design projects of a freelance graphic designer

I know personally I have learned a lot from the personal design projects I have done in the past. It seems to help keep design work fresh. When you are working regularly for a lot of the same clients you can find you are not stretching yourself. You use the same programs, same fonts (sticking with the corporate style you have set up) same sort of images and logos. By setting yourself personal projects you can safely (ie no-one else necessarily has to see it) learn new programs and experiment with different techniques.

I have always dabbled in different ideas, character design and product designs/inventions as my personal projects. I first got to grips with Strata 3D a basic 3D program because I wanted to be able to create 3 dimensional looking products and characters. Although nothing has come of these product ideas so far, what I can now do is produce packaging and simple POS stand visuals using the same 3D package for my clients.

More recently some of you will know I have been trying to learn CSS and HTML and although my skills are still very basic, by adapting a wordpress template for my character designs (another personal project) I have managed to create myself a simple web site and at the same time learn more about CSS and HTML on the way. Blogging on this blog (another personal project 🙂 ) has helped with this too, and I am not so afraid to get my hands dirty and tweak the HTML and CSS (although it doesn’t always go plan).

My more recent personal project has been to create a toy based on some of my character designs which I will be pitching at a toy inventors day at a UK toy company tomorrow (yikes). A few of you may remember I was looking for a new 3D program to supplement Strata 3D and I mentioned I had found Cheetah 3D for mac. By producing the visuals for the toy in Cheetah 3D, a program I had not used before I now feel I have got to grips with the basics of what looks to be a very promising program for organic modelling. The use of Cheetah 3D I am sure will develop into my live/client work.

I know many designers take part in design competitions to stretch themselves and allow more creativity. Personally I think it is vital to set yourself personal projects, it is so much easier to learn something when you have a project goal rather than just following a set tutorial.

So whether its creating your new range of designer t-shirts, designing an image for a friends band, experimental product design/inventions, character design, or web design, set yourself a project you’ll be amazed how much you learn.

What are your personal design related projects?

This post is from Graphic Design Blog