Notes from an Oakland designer

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D30: Exercises for Designers

For the past four weeks I’ve been taking an online course through HOW Design University, based on Jim Krause’s excellent book of the same name, D30: Exercises for Designers. “D30” refers to thirty days of hands-on exercises for designers and other creative professionals or fans to fine tune their skills and re-invigorate their connection with love of design—that childlike desire to play with art that we can lose touch with over years of dealing with the grown-up realities of deadlines and clients and billing.

For this course, we focused on three or four exercises a week. On the playful, getting in touch with your inner kindergartener side, projects ranged from making paper mâché balloon bowls, to creating designs on paper with uncooked pasta, to drawing stylized “swirling swirls” on paper napkins; on the more technical honing side, exercises included drawing the negative space of a chair or other simple object, playing with the macro settings on your DSLR in a simple homemade photo studio, and creating a short stop motion movie with photos of circles.

I found it really fun and refreshing to lose myself in these projects—a great reset on my own engagement with love of design and arts and crafts. Highly recommended for designers and artists looking to reconnect with the basics. Here’s a selection of the wide-ranging projects I tackled this month.