How does your design process differ when you work on your personal projects?

02.10.2011 / Question submitted by: Dion Star

5 replies. Share yours.

Creative Process Discussion

Gary Wiese:

My process differs slightly on personal projects—but not too much. I think it boils down to a matter of mindset. On personal projects, the objective isn’t to solve a particular problem, sell a product, or make someone take action. It’s more about executing a personal thought or emotion, and the results don’t necessarily matter.

This opens the door for lots of exploration and executions. Often, the personal project process can be much quicker than a client project because you can skip the evaluation steps necessary to ensure a project is on-brand and communicating effectively. For me, more thought goes into the execution and how I can make the design engaging and relevant to the viewer.





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  1. Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

    Now in my 33rd year as a professional graphic designer, I have learned a few things along the path of my career. One is that in the past I was my own worst client. Until I treated personal projects the same as client efforts, I had difficulty experiencing quick and effective results. For many years I have been much more successful with my own projects by following exactly the same procedures and processes I have established for clients: Set up a job folder, establish a project brief, put various deadlines on the calendar, etc. These days I get much less frustrated with myself and end up with more satisfying results.

  2. Stephen Dyson

    I treat both work for friends and that for ‘clients’ exactly the same, I feel its vital to do so otherwise you can get sloppy and create work that is sub standard which will reflect badly on you.
    Its important you go through the same stages to make sure you have a final product that you would hand over to a fully fledged client, just because its for a friend you shouldn’t change your process and definitely not produce a final product that is below your usual standard.

  3. Theraisa K

    My personal projects are more free-flowing creativity based – they don’t always have a clear direction or pre-determined outcome. I may go through the motions as I would if it were a client project, like draw thumbnails on paper before transferring it to a program for polishing. But, obviously I’d eliminate the paperwork portion like contracts, licensing, etc.

  4. Gert van Duinen

    Interesting question and I didn’t have to think hard about an answer either. I agree both with Jeff & Stephen. I tend to keep the free creative flow alive even after a clear and well-formed project brief from the client. If the outcome is fixed or somewhat pre-determined, I won’t even try because it probably has been done by someone else before. With that said, I think it’s important to stick with the methods that yields the most creative results.



How does your design process differ when you work on your personal projects?

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