By Design is a fortnightly letter reaching ~170,000 people following the Prototypr publication. Written by Sophie Clifton-Tucker, we unearth unheard voices, and break down the barriers in design and development.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull designer. Or something. But for some, work feels like play, especially when it comes in the form of challenges.
From 100 Days of Code to Daily UI, working on your craft is not too dissimilar to practising a musical instrument; if you’re consistent, you’ll get better, things will get easier, and you’ll probably enjoy it more. (Just ask Darshan Gajara, creator of Product Disrupt, who lives by the mantra that ‘consistency outplays talent’.)
Sticking to something with the same dogged determination it takes to complete an entire 20-episode series in one evening can mean the difference between knocking on people’s doors, to them knocking on yours. So let’s get cracking — that world-renowned product aint going to create itself.
A lot can happen in 100 days. Stephanie Meyer wrote Twilight (a questionable use of her time), Franklin D Roosevelt tackled the Great Depression, and Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ America — with time to spare. No pressure.
Hot off the Press: People & Projects
- An Illustration a Day Keeps Limitations at Bay: unDraw was started by Katerina Limpitsouni. She simply produced 1 illustration a day, for 100s of days… and she now owns one of the largest open-source illustration libraries in the world.
- The 100 Day Project: Tiantian Xu has done 100 days of just about everything; motion design, vector illustration, and (my personal favourite) doodling a song a day, to name but a few. Just like a Sim levelling up at the cooker, after the numerous fires comes the reward of a full skill bar and a result you can dine out on. Learn to ‘celebrate the process of making’ again. What will you create?
- Staying Sane While Creating: Now completely ignore everything I just said. Sometimes, 100 days of rest is just as important. (Although maybe not consecutively, if you want to keep that job). In a fast-paced field that’s only growing traction, it’s important to stop and smell the roses from time to time. Need some inspo? Meet Jhey Tompkins. This guy is the most prolific and consistent creator on the planet. (Quote me.) Take a look at some of his projects over at CodePen. Jhey understands the time to grind, the time to rest, and when to know the difference. Here’s one of his nuggets of wisdom: “With so much pressure to be our best selves and use every waking moment to develop skills, it’s easy to lose track of our own wellbeing. Self-improvement and commitment to your craft are great — but only if you find the right balance.”
- Maker Mind — Your Weekly Dose of Mindful Productivity: Anne-Laure Le Cunff is also a big advocate of finding the time to put your feet up and have a cuppa. Her weekly newsletter, Maker Mind, highlights how over-exerting yourself can lead to exactly the opposite of your desired outcome. Productivity ≠ creativity. Check out some of her insightful scribbles:
(Feeling amped up and ready to undertake your own 100-day challenge? Head on over to 100 days of code: Freecodecamp or Daily UI Design Challenge, Inspiration, and Resources… and don’t forget to take a break!)
Practice Makes Perfect: And perfect takes patience. Just ask Sasha Tran, who committed herself to the Codevember challenge in order to take her illustrations from Pikachu to kawaii-vampire-bandaid in just 30 days. Her takeaway? It all comes down to the basics and consistency.
1 Year of #100DaysOfCode: If you want to skip the hard part and go straight to where you find out exactly what’s to gain from these challenges, see what Eleftheria Batsou has to say about the process. She details her sources and inspiration, and tracks her growth, both on a coding and a personal level. Also check out her talk at Codegarden, where she presents some helpful tips about self-motivation, time management, keeping a balance and believing in yourself.
100 Days of UX Sketches: Taking inspiration from Tiantian Xu, Tian Gan started her own 100 Days of UX Sketches challenge in order to learn something new and push aside the lethal cocktail of self doubt, laziness, and perfectionism. Using her 30-minute morning commute, Tian sketched 3 UX-related concepts every day for 100 days, sharing her process (and pictures of Fluff the cat — bonus). As well as having something tangible to be proud of at the end of the day, Tian found that opting for sketching over passively consuming content on socials made a big difference to how her day started.
Design Sprint — From 100 Days to Just 5: Design Sprint is a collaborative process involving sketching, hypothesising, prototyping and user testing in order to find solutions to critical business questions over the course of — you guessed it — 5 days. Just as with the 100-day projects, condensing a number of tasks into a short space of time creates a pressure cooker environment that forces all hands on deck in order to provide immediate fixes.
Available for Hire
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In each bi-weekly newsletter, we’ll shine a spotlight on some of the people available for hire that make up our melting pot community.
Alex Kukharenko • UI/UX Designer
- Alex Kukharenko is a product designer, writer, and entrepreneur working with visual design, experience design, and motion graphics. He has written a number of insightful pieces, such as I made my Sketch faster and got 120 GB of free disk space. How?, How to create a design style guide in the sketch in 3 seconds, andComplete guide for making animated perspective design or story.
- Alex is also the founder of Usabilityscale.com; a professional tool to assess your usability score with previous results and scores from other companies, offering valuable feedback from users.
Jenny Core-Holt • Web Designer
- Jenny Core-Holt is a frontend designer interested in human-centered design, design systems and hanging out with her dog, Toby. Using a combination of bubble solution, graphite and ink, Jenny’s art is a time-led and performative process.
- Take a look at some of her past projects, involving neumorphic component designs, split screens, and a self-dunking tea bag over on dribbble.
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