Much like the muscles in the body, design skills can be developed. Bodybuilders develop routines and specific exercises to target key muscles. Likewise, designers can do targeted workouts to keep their design skills sharp. This is best accomplished through design challenges that use design prompts to explore and develop their design process.
Design challenges are excellent for building and maintaining creative muscles and helping graphic designers elevate their work. In this article, we’ll cover everything from personal projects to prompt generators in the creative community.
What is a Design Challenge?
Design challenges come in many forms and are a creative habit for graphic artists seeking design inspiration and experience. Often, challenges come in the form of exercises or competitions that can carry multiple benefits.
Sometimes there may even be prizes for challengers, such as product discount codes on crucial software. Design challenges are often influenced by industry trends which can be a great way to keep abreast of developments in digital art.
If you want to be a professional designer, you need design experience, which is best developed by taking on these unique, specialized challenges.
Why Try a Design Challenge?
Participating in a design challenge is a positive habit that can get those creative juices flowing and help artists overcome creative blocks. Challenges in design can range from beautiful packaging design to product design exercises that push the creative process.
For example, an artist may produce awesome designs in one specific area but needs practice in others. The biggest challenges to designers are often outside of their comfort zones, and that’s why design challenges offer so many great opportunities.
Design Challenges to Try
Whether you’re a student graphic designer, an advanced designer, or an independent artist, this set of exciting challenge resources can help you develop crucial skills. Some of these can fall under daily, yearly, and 30-day challenges, but they’re worth exploring as graphic design challenges.
These challenges are not the only ones out there. This list is just a small sampling of hundreds of activities and probably thousands. You can even innovate and develop your own challenges too. Just stick with this list to learn more.
Sharpen is a design education resource with a beautiful generator for branding design challenges. The website allows users to set categories and lock elements of the randomized prompt to fine-tune their challenge. However, sometimes the most rewarding experience can be dealing with the craziest design scenarios the generator can spin. Whether conceptual or complex, Sharpen offers plenty of opportunity for practice.
Some of the most prominent challenges designers face and best-performing designs can be found in the community around design. Specifically, the Daily UI Challenge distributes daily design challenges and inspiration to its network of over 300,000 graphic designers of all skill sets.
Design challenges are sent out daily and can be shared with the #dailyui hashtag. As a bonus, rewards are available to help keep designers on their toes, 100% free.
Looking to develop your design portfolio? UX Design Challenges from UX Tools offers innovative UX challenges that can help any artist increase the scope and craft of their UX design skills.
The training provided by UX Design Challenges comes in wide varieties and tends to be oriented around the reasoning for specific design applications. Each activity features an overview and design tips in addition to resources.
Logo design is almost an entire skill set of its own. Thankfully, the Daily Logo Challenge can help aspiring and veteran designers refresh and innovate on their principles.
The challenges come in the form of a newsletter that offers 50 prompts over as many days. Open the brief, design your logo, and then share it with the rest of the design community associated with the site.
36 Days of Type is a design challenge that spans roughly a month and tasks innovators to approach letters and numbers of the Latin alphabet uniquely.
The yearly open call results in an active community working with and against one another to push the limits of typography and graphic design. Single letters with thousands of variations go head-to-head over 30+ days. It’s a genuinely arresting challenge well worth exploring each year.
6. Creative Challenges from Behance
Because of the connection between Adobe’s engineers and Behance as a portfolio resource, these design challenges are compelling and meant to shepherd designers through Adobe’s software suite. You’ll receive new challenges daily, which you can tackle with a community of Adobe software experts and enthusiasts.
7. Create Your Design Challenge
Perhaps one of the best ways for independent artists to develop these skills without content from teachers or material tied to communities is to build their challenges. These can range significantly from emphasizing the usage of basic, ready-made materials to building on basic concepts with more innovative ideas under a time limit.
One significant challenge that involves slight randomization is designing music album covers using randomized elements. For example, the basic idea has appeared in a few online forms. Still, it uses a random Wikipedia page for the artist’s name, a random Wikiquote for the album’s name, and a random image on Flickr. The randomness of the activity rewards innovative ideas and thinking and results in an exciting challenge.
Design challenges are an excellent option if you’re eager to take the next step in your career and expand your creative portfolio. Whether you pursue software-specific challenges or want to impress the creative industry with your skills across multiple design categories such as UX and typography, these challenges will give you a leg up on your competition… with a bit of competition for good measure.
So, pick a challenge, innovate your design thinking, and we’ll see you in the challenges. Don’t forget to share your design projects on social media as well!