I've just finished Michael Bierut's 100 Days Project. Above is the final "design operation" and below is the first. I still like that one.
The full 100 is here on Flickr.
A quick recap. The brief (given by Michael to Yale students) is to do a "design operation" every day for 100 days. I chose to imagine my life was a New York Times Op Ed column and do a little graphic illustration for each column.
It is incredibly hard. Just remembering to do it every day is hard. Finding time to do it with a family and a job is hard. And choosing the 'op ed story' each day was hard. Making them good was hard, but if you wanted to make one hundred good graphics this isn't the way you'd go about it.
This project is about process. Michael told me he gives the brief to teach students what work is like and to help them develop ways to cope with that. Repeating a design operation every day whether you want to or not. Doing it when the ideas are flowing and then doing it when the ink has tried up and the computer doesn't work and the client hates everything. Doing it late on the train. And then doing that all over again the next day. That, after all, is what work can be like.
You learn techniques to get you through the days. Little mini systems that get you through the dark days. You let a few duff ones go by. You get good patches. And eventually you get a decent standard you can pretty much deliver all the time. Occassionally you do a really good one.
The one big difference from real work for me, was that you can't easily ask for help and you can't commission your way out of it. Or rather you could but I didn't. I'd like to have tried a week of commissioning illustrators.
I enjoyed it immensely but I'm glad it's over.
For what it's worth here are some highlights and low points.
I think these are my five favourites.
And here are five I'd rather forget.
Days 45 - 51 was the series that worked best for me. I'd like to repeat that.
Day 81 got the most views on Flickr.
Day 21 got the most favs on Flickr.
I was happiest with the little techniquie I'd developed by the end. I wrote about that in the 93 days update.
I woud do it again. Maybe I will. I'd quite like to talk about it somewhere, maybe at a college? And I'd love to set it as a project. I'd better ask Michael if that's OK.