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The importance of personal projects

Just like traditional artists need to keep drawing or painting to improve their skills, professional designers should do the same. Each client project is an opportunity to improve a skill, learn something new and challenge yourself. However, real world client projects many times tend to be either uninspiring, too controlling or without enough creative freedom due to client involvement or project restrictions. And that’s ok as is part of our job to make it as interesting as possible for the best and most appropriate outcome. But many designers are still artists at heart and we all crave the need to do something really inspiring with no restrictions and complete freedom. If we don’t do this every now and then it could affect our daily work, our motivation and aspiration to become better at what we do.

My solution to this has always been to create my own projects, and not just wait for an opportunity to present itself. Along with many other designers out there I don’t remember a time in my career that I didn’t have a personal project on the side that I kept working on during my free time. Most of the times I even had multiple ones. From web and graphic design to drawings and digital illustrations, even a couple of video game projects. This has always helped me to improve my skills, challenge myself, and experiment with various methods even if a project will eventually never get finished to see the light of day.

There are many projects you could have on the side. Maybe you saw a website or a logo that you felt you could improve and execute much better. Then simply go for it. Or maybe you always wanted to do a design for a movie or a band; again create your own brief and challenge yourself as it was a real world client project. As long as it inspires you, there are many ideas you can adopt. And by doing so you push yourself to learn something new, improve your standards and your portfolio. And as long as your work is shared online, on your personal website or on various portfolio sites, you may even get worldwide attention and proper work out of it. All it takes is just that extra effort and never give up.

Over the years I have created too many personal projects to even mention, but just to give you an idea you can take a look at my favorite and most recent ones on my personal website at LStavrinides.com (made by the BLEND team of course).

I hope this post inspires you to do the same, and do feel free to share with us what you come up with.

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Loris Stavrinides
Loris Stavrinides

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