Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fun Exercises for New Designers

So you've recently gotten into graphic design, perhaps even designing logos.  You've got great art skills, but you probably haven't had an incredible amount of practice creating something out of nothing, of thinking up really new ideas.  The best way to get good at anything is to do it over and over and over again until you are good at it.  Malcolm Gladwell claims that experts become experts because they devote at least 10,000 hours of practice to perfecting their craft.  So, how to become a great designer then?  Practice!  Here are some design exercises that can really help you.

Design Mazes
We all remember that part in Inception when Leonardo is testing Helen Paige to see if she is a creative architect.  He gives her one minute to draw a unique maze, something that will stump him.  She fails the first two times, only to nail it on her third try because her third maze was something outside the box.  Even Helen didn't get it right the first time...she needed practice!  Try to mix it up by creating some atypical maze designs:

Design your own Pirate Flag
There are tons of shirts out there in tourist gift shops that display twenty or so different pirate flags, all with the central black and white skull theme, but all just a little bit different from one another.  Heck, go nuts by adding some color in there:

Design your own Country's Flag
There are just about 200 countries in the world.  Every single one of these has its own flag.  Every single one of those flags is different.  Guys, that's a whole lot of flags.  Additionally, every state, most cities, organizations and schools also have their own flags.  People are always going to need flags.  Try designing your own.  But don't stop with a simple drawing.  Why did you choose the colors and symbols you did?  Think of a whole history to surround your flag, to really give it meaning.  One more opportunity to exercise your imagination cannot hurt, after all.

Practice makes perfect.  It's a trite saying, but it's one for a reason.  Flex your design muscles every chance you get, and you'll be on your way to the top.  If you're too burnt out to make your own t-shirt, try these or any other exercise to get your hands and mind working.


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