Design Exercises To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

The creative mind is like the human body.

Creativity by Alex Norris


Creativity is something that should be trained everyday, or else it would get out of shape. Thus, doing some creativity exercises would ensure that your brain remains sharp enough for you to do your projects effectively.

Aside from that, it’s inevitable that you will run into a creative block where it would seem that your fountain of creativity has run out. Doing some light Photoshop manipulation or even doodling will help getting you back in the zone.

I’ve listed some mini design exercises you can do to get your creative juices flowing.


Quote Typography


Typography is one of the hardest graphic design components to master. The choice of typeface  should reflect what the quote is trying to say. Even the line breaks, spacing, or the choice of color and background are essential in creating a harmonious and coherent design.

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Mini typography design exercise #1

1. Choose a quote from the most recent movie/TV show you watched or the last book you’ve read.

2. Allot a specific amount of time, say thirty minutes, and see how many ways you can design a quote typography study within the timeframe.

3. Submit it to the respective fandom for profit.

Mini typography design exercise #2

1. Choose a free font at random from font aggregator sites like dafont.

2. Look for fonts that go well with selected font.

3. Write a quote using the font partners you created to verify.

Mini typography design exercise #3

1. Check your feed and look for status updates or tweets that you could use.

2. Choose an appropriate font for said update/tweet.

3. Comment the finished image and wait for hilarity.


Sketching


We’ve done it all the time ever since we were kids. Why not use that as your preliminary exercise before designing?

Venomous by Kerby Rosanes 

Mini sketching exercise #1

1. Look for kindergarten monster doodles online.

2. Create your own version of the monster.

3. Use Photoshop to bring it to life.

Mini sketching exercise #2

1. Make a list of fantastical skills from video games or fantasy novels.

2. Doodle a monster within the constraints of your list.

3. Profit.

Mini sketching exercise #3

1. Choose a famous painting such as The Scream by Edvard Munch or The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

2. Include a monster to interact with the characters of the painting.

3. Take it to the next level by imitating the style of the artist for your monster.


Logo Design


Logos are one of the fundamentals of graphics design. Being able to illustrate an identity through the use of a symbol is an arduous task, and comes with a great responsibility for a graphic designer. The logo is the most associated object with a company  and thus, it has a significant impact on the company’s future marketing strategies.

AspireBoard Sketches by Eddie Lobanovskiy

This is one aspect you should definitely train for.

Mini logo design exercise #1

1. Check crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter for startup companies.

2. Use their company and project summary as a client brief and sketch as many logo concepts as you can.

3. State reasons how each logo could or couldn’t work.

Mini logo design exercise #2

1. Choose one of your friends.

2. Write a brief on what kind of person they are and how you know them to be.

3. Design a personal logo for them.

Mini logo design exercise #3

1. Look for a random article in Wikipedia until you have a prominent personality. (Alt + Shift + X for Windows and Linux, Control + Option + X for Mac)

2. Use the wiki entry as a creative brief for you to make your logo.

3. Design a personal logo for them.


Photo manipulation


The best weapon in a designer’s arsenal is arguably Adobe Photoshop. Knowing how to use your weapon in more ways than one is essential for survival in the design wilderness.

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Mini photo manipulation exercise #1

1. Subscribe to the Photoshop Battles subreddit. Here, users submit interesting photographs that you can manipulate to your heart’s content

2. Use your Photoshop skills to create the most hilarious pic you could think of.

3. Submit for that precious karma.

Mini photo manipulation exercise #2

1. Choose one photo from various stock photo sites.

2. Use Photoshop to make it not stock photo-ish.

OR

3. Instead of a monster, use the stock photo for Mini sketching exercise #3

Mini photo manipulation exercise #3

1. Look for old black and white photos. Photos from your parents’ family albums works great, but you can search for old photos in the internet.

2. Colorize them using Photoshop.

3. Give it to your Mum next Thanksgiving.

That’s about the list of things I could think of. I hope they could prove useful to you.

Do you have any design exercise you do before getting to work? Comment below.