What happens when we challenge ourselves?

What happens when we challenge ourselves?

1024 1024 Susan Fireside

I’m currently doing the 100 day challenge started by Elle Luna. I’ve you’re not familiar with it, you can read about it here. https://the100dayproject.org/

Last year I did this challenge with work I had started with my design thesis, and while I continue to work on that as part of a passion project, this year I wanted to push myself with a new medium. Instant Cameras.

As a designer I struggle with wanting my work to be perfect, and also finding an authenticity to the work that I create. I don’t seek to do what everyone else is doing, but instead to create work that feels honest and true to my clients. I love the beautiful images I can create with an iphone. The colors, the way we can zoom in, crop, and edit all in our hands. I’m very happy with my professional curated instagram feed. However, I still love the feeling of having something tangible that I can hold.

I recognize that so much of what we see today feels a little too polished and the same. How do we as creatives continue to push the boundries of great design while being able to connect with the intended audience? Can we help our clients get away from their comfort zone and allow work that feels fresh and inspiring be the work that they say yes to, instead of looking at what their competitors see and wanting to use that as a guide to what they should be doing?

I found that by having this daily challenge, I needed to rethink the same topic differently each day. I had no choice. I kept running into problems. For one, I was using a 20 year old Polaroid camera. It was incredibly light sensitive, and I was experimenting with black and white film. Unfortunately sometimes I’d shoot and nothing but gray come out. (that led to one of my favorite pieces where I shot it on a textile design and wrote on the film.) At almost $2.00 a shot, this was going to be an expensive project. So I switched after a few days and bought a fun pink little number from Fuji. I could by film in bulk on Amazon, so that problem was solved. However, I felt frustrated because the camera had a lot of limitations. Light was key, and how far away you shot was also an issue. I decided to call my project “100 day project. Taking shitty Polaroid and trying to make them interesting.” I had embraced the mediums’ limitations, and decided to just roll with it. I found that having structure promotes creative freedom.

Day after day, I’d look at new ways to do something with that instant pic. It wasn’t just a picture I was taking, I started looking at the environment I was placing it in to show the work on instragram. I used motion, video, and other mediums to add to the work. The results, still ongoing, are somewhat interesting. They’re nothing I would have expected when I started this challenge. But the work keeps evolving, inspired by what I had done the day before, and wondering what else I can do to keep it interesting.

And when each day you look at the same thing with a new set of eyes, imagine what that can do for your work?