Personal design projects are something I have been doing for the last ten plus years or so, and you can see just a few of them (so far) at my new blog An image of one of my ideas is shown below.

volcano game toy

How about you? I would love to see and hear about your personal design projects and if anyone would like to send me any with a bit of information about yourself and why you do  them I would be happy to feature them on this blog.

There are many reasons you might want to consider doing personal art/design projects

1. To stretch yourself creatively
Not all live design jobs can give you the creative outlet you need.

2. To learn new things
I don’t know about you but I am absolutely rubbish at learning something new without trying to do something real with it. Tutorials just don’t work for me, I would prefer to read up on the subject, then give it a go. When I first wanted to try to learn 3D I decided to have a go at designing some watches and then created them in a 3D package. I learned a lot more this way, through trial and error, rather than just following a tutorial parrot fashion.

3. Maybe you want a change of direction in your work
Perhaps you want to develop an illustration style or maybe you want to create a blog where you can help others or share things you like. If you enjoy sketching or producing imagery you could put your work in exhibitions or enter The Arthouse Sketchbook Project for Artists and Designers

4. Perhaps you want to fill up your portfolio with new, more creative work
If you are a student or trying to get a new job you may want to set yourself projects to help build up a portfolio in the area of design you want to work in. (Students may also want to check out my sample design briefs)

5. In the hope that your ideas will be licensed or earn you some income
If you create something like a book or product idea you might eventually be able to get it into the marketplace or license your idea. You could also sell your photography or illustration work through various royalty free image sites or from your own site. You might find you have a market for your hand made goods on a site like Etsy or could sell T-shirt designs through Spreadshirt, Cafepress, Threadless or your own site.

6. Or perhaps you just enjoy a new challenge.

A couple of fellow design bloggers have their own personal design projects:

Writing and Illustrating a Children’s Book

Jennifer Farley (twitter – @Laughing_Lion) from Laughing Lion Design’s personal design project was to write and illustrate a children’s book. Looking at her illustrations you can see how she has developed a distinctive style, of course this can only be achieved through practice. A personal project like this has given her the freedom to experiment and now she can also try and get her book published hopefully adding another string to her bow.

childrens illustration bee

check out more of Jennifer’s work on

Post-it Designs

I love these posits created by Nick Routley aka @Phanyxx on Twitter
I asked him what started him creating these and he said he just had a lot of posits lying around. You can see from these, that it just allows his imagination to run wild and he is inspired by things that are in the news or that he is doing at the time.

post it design

post-it design

Check out more of Nick’s work at

Strangely enough careers have been developed just by doing similar things to this, that most people would just think was trivial or silly. Check out Hugh MacLeod who you can read about on the Screw Work Let’s Play website who started drawing cartoons on the back of business cards. Something which started out as fun has ended up making him a living. Hugh’s website is and I enjoyed reading his book “Ignore Everybody” too.

gaping void

If you are a designer and have a personal design project you would like to share please drop me an email.