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09.06.2022

30-day challenges every graphic designer must try out

You don’t need to put in the hours to get better at design. While discussing the benefits of designing every day in this blog, I share 6 amazing 30-day challenges that will help you get better at designing indigestible, byte-sized daily exercises. Read on and take the first step towards building daily design practice.
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Introduction

What’s the one thing you practice every day without fail? Journaling? Playing an instrument? Your craft? It could be anything. But sticking to the topic, let’s discuss why we designers should practice short design exercises every day. The point is not why we should practice something every day. Rather, it’s what happens when we practice something every day. For me, the following things happened –

1.  It becomes easier to build a habit

Doing 15 or 30-minute short design tasks every day can be a lot easier than filling in 1 hour of heavy work. Short tasks seem easier, more fun, and less daunting to do. This makes it easier to stick to the habit than dropping it after a few days. It’s natural to slack off and miss a few days of practice. But I use Matt D’avella’s Two-day rule, i.e., not skipping more than two days in a row, to ensure I get back on track after taking a break.

2.  The power of compounding

When you do something every day, you naturally tend to get better at it and faster. Little by little, our skill becomes sharper, which contributes to an overall improvement in our designs.

3.  Learning by doing

The daily practice encourages learning by doing, which is the best way to learn anything. When we do something new, we run into roadblocks, which on overcoming, grant us a greater understanding than only reading or listening ever could. Multiply that with the days in the month, and you’ll be surprised how much these short exercises can help improve your skill.

4.  Improve productivity

The daily practice encourages learning by doing, which is the best way to learn anything. When we do something new, we run into roadblocks, which on overcoming, grant us a greater understanding than only reading or listening ever could. Multiply that with the days in the month, and you’ll be surprised how much these short exercises can help improve your skill.

5.  Letting go of perfectionism

We often tend to overthink our work, wasting much mental energy and time on non-trivial things. Having a time limit to complete a short task every day allows us to let go of perfectionism.  We learn to embrace our flaws and find the patience to seek mastery through practice.

30-day Design Challenges for Graphic Designers
Image Credit – The Daily Logo Challenge

The daily logo challenge is a popular design challenge. You can subscribe to the challenge for free using your email, and the prompts will be delivered to your inbox every day for 50 days. It is a great commitment to get better at design and build a worthwhile portfolio while doing so. They also regularly feature the design attempts on their social media handles. So, watch out for yours! Share your designs on social media, receive feedback, critique your peer’s work, and with each day of the challenge, get one step closer to mastering logo design.

memorisely
Image Credit – Memorisely

Memorisely, founded by the product designer Zander, is a fully remote startup that offers UI/UX learning resources. The Memorisely monthly UX/UI challenge is a free one-month challenge that holds the participants accountable to improve their skills every day. These challenges vary every month. To start, click on “start challenge” and fill in your details. Upon doing this, you’ll get access to Memorisely’s slack community, where you’ll see the daily tasks as well as connect with fellow creatives. At the end of the month, participants are encouraged to share their designs in a monthly showcase. This challenge is an amazing way to upskill yourself while getting active feedback from a community of creatives.

Daily UI
Image Credit – Daily UI

If you’re looking to get better at UI design, this is another great challenge for you. Started in 2016, the Daily UI Design Challenge now has over 250,000+ participants all over the globe (as mentioned on their website). Once you subscribe to the challenge with your email, you’ll get a unique UI design challenge every day from Monday to Friday. Practice design daily with the challenges, share your work on social media, and build a solid design portfolio. Another attractive aspect of this challenge is the rewards they give out randomly in the form of design resources, product discount codes, and more.

Inktober
Image Credit – Daily UI

Inktober is a month-long art challenge that takes place every October. Created by artist Jake Parker, Inktober is a challenge that allows artists to see how much they can improve in a month. Funnily enough, Inktober has something for everyone, be it designers, illustrators, artists, or even writers (read the FAQs). The prompts are released on September 1st every year, and you can start uploading your work from October 1st. The best thing about this challenge is that there is no right or wrong way of doing it. The freedom to express your craft however you want allows you to break away from the everyday mundane tasks and get creative. If you’re reading this after October, you can still practice the prompts from this year or the previous years by yourself and participate in the official Inktober next time.

36 days of type
Image Credit – 36 Days of Type

Typography is one of the most important aspects of graphic design. Started as a personal project in 2014, 36 Days of Type has transformed into a famous Latin typography challenge with participation from designers, visual artists, and creatives from diverse fields. The dates for each edition of the challenge are released a few days before the start, between February and April. Upon commencement, the task is to design your interpretation of one alphabet or number each day, ranging from A to Z and 0 to 9. Practice manipulating type with this challenge and develop a better eye for it in doing so.

6. Behance Daily Creative Challenge
Behance Daily Creative Challenge
Image Credit – 36 Days of Type
If you’re a designer, Adobe is a household name in the industry. Behance is a social media platform by Adobe for showcasing your portfolio and discovering work from other amazing creatives. It also features a daily creative challenge for Adobe XD and Adobe Photoshop. It helps you improve your skills in these two software with 9 challenges for each. These are the links to the challenges for each platform -
  1. XD (https://www.behance.net/challenge/xd)
  2. Photoshop (https://www.behance.net/challenge/photoshop)
Once you start, you’ll receive a challenge each day from Monday to Friday. To stay informed about the challenge, you can join the respective discord server. Each challenge comes with a daily live show video to equip you with the knowledge to perform the task. Once you are done with each challenge, you can share your work and get feedback from mentors and participants. This is a fun and collaborative way to learn and grow!
7. Honorable mentions
The following are not exactly daily challenges but are still worth sharing.
  1. Dribble Weekly Warm-up Dribble has Weekly Warm-up shots where they post a design prompt every week. It is not a challenge and is intended purely for the sake of design and nothing else. You can rebound each weekly Warm-up with your interpretation of the prompt with the hashtag “dribbleweeklywarmup.” Since it’s a common prompt, you can also track other entries that are shared with the hashtag.
  2. Custom 30-day design challenge with prompt generators If you are not into any of the above challenges but would like to have your own daily practice, head on to this blog I wrote some time ago. This blog includes ways to generate design prompts that are more catered to your taste. As long as you hold yourself accountable, you can use these methods for your very own daily design challenge. Now, isn’t that fun?
 
Conclusion

I used to feel that I needed to practice for hours every day to get better. Because of that, I ended up procrastinating a lot instead of building a daily habit. The amount of confidence and skill-building that comes with staying accountable is priceless. Whether it’s designing Logos or User Interfaces, give these challenges a try. Remember to keep the tasks short and fun so that you don’t exhaust yourself. It’s okay if it isn’t perfect; it’s still a step forward. If you know of more exciting daily challenges, share them with us in the comments section. Good luck!

AUTHORED AND GRAPHICS DESIGNED BY
SANIKA SANAYE
CREATIVE DESIGN DIRECTOR
peer reviewed By
JAsjit Chopra
chief executive officer
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