The best panel I attented at sxsw was about creating a design playground. I had no idea what it was going to be about. I thought it might have something to do with setting up your environment or some such thing. Instead, it was a talk by three talented designers and illustrators about creating an online place for you to play. A place to create stuff just for the sake of doing it. Not for clients, not for money. Just for you.
This was one of those right place right time occasions. I’ve been really missing the exploration and play of just mucking around with illustrator. I’d been working so much that I’d completely fallen out of practice. All day long I design strict grid-based layouts – work I love. But it was starting to feel pretty stale.
When I was in design school, ere these not so many years ago, I made some really cool stuff. It was like throwing gas on my passion to design great work. Hearing the panel, and seeing their work was a much needed kick in the ass.
I’ve started playing again, and the effect on my designs has been immediate and pronounced. We’ve got some work in production at the moment that is amongst the best we’ve done. It’s still a ways off from launch. But my personal work is starting to go online at sparkthrower.com. The site couldn’t be simpler: click the image for the next slide. Nothing else to it.
I am ridiculously stoked to be creating again. It’s all I can do to contain my energy. My mind is awash with (hopefully) brilliant client work, and I feel more relaxed than I have in a year.
Are you doing something similar? Care to share the url?