and that’s why i design daily…

work

For over a year now i’ve been a flickr pro member and have tried to upload as many images as i can. It’s not easy. I’m not a photographer and my brain isn’t programmed to think like one so i usually only end up taking photos when i’m on holidays…

That said, i have gotten in to the habit of designing daily in photoshop. Alongside every blog post, i create a 750px x 250px custom designed image. Now when i say ‘custom designed’ i don’t mean i create every pixel myself… i’ll often just crop my own photos or add effects in to them and that’s my ‘custom’ design. Or i’ll grab some free images from stock photography sites, screenshots or icons online and use them in my ‘custom’ designs.

Why?

Why do you do this every day?
Creative Commons License photo credit: edmittance

It started off as a way for me to ‘get better’ with design and ‘get better’ working with photoshop. Up until last year i hated photoshop and never took the time to go through it feature by feature and learn how it works and what i can do. Although i find it easy to use now, i used to find it very frustrating to use… things didn’t move when i wanted them to. I couldn’t select stuff when i wanted to…

Now, several HUNDRED designs later, i am of course pretty handy with photoshop; there’d be something wrong if i wasn’t – i’ve used it daily for about 9 months… I now know straight away what looks good and what doesn’t. Most of the time i won’t be happy with designs but i’ll publish them anyway because of time constraints (quite often i’ll find myself needing to come up with something in 15 minutes).work

So admittedly, most of my designs are weak at best, but i don’t really care… it was never my aim to become a graphic designer, i just wanted to beef up my design skills. If you were to constantly criticize my designs i’d still keep designing daily – i do it for me, not for anyone else 🙂

The Rewards

SETC2009 - day3 - 054
Creative Commons License photo credit: mystepped

Having people like some of my designs is really just a bonus. Like i said, i’d design anyway regardless of how many people see them or whether people like them or not. By default, anything i upload to flickr is given a creative commons licence. That means people can use all my stuff provided they link to it. In reality i don’t care how people use my work. I just like seeing where my stuff is, but if you were to copy / paste an image of mine and use it to explain or enhance something, fine by me.

Anyway, here’s just a few examples of where my designs have ended up;

Incredibly really… and the list goes on and on too. All of that has come about because of one thing – work rate. You might wonder why i bother doing this stuff day after day when i could be doing something more important or relaxing… i do it because the only way you can ‘prove’ you have a good work rate is to show that you have a good work rate.

So when someone asks me can i design? I can say yes, here’s the proof – and link to a bout 3,000 images on flickr plus direct them to this blog post which shows where my stuff has been used online. I *think* that might just answer their question better than a bit of carefully worded waffle on a CV.

To be honest i’d completely forgotten i’d even taken / owned some of those photos and designs and as i was browsing through some, i was actually asking myself “is that actually mine?!” This one for example was taken from my bedroom window one morning just to test out my old (new at the time) camera 3 years ago. I don’t even remember putting it up online but that’s what happens when you churn out stuff day after day for years on end…. you may forget about it but years later someone can come along and use it.

6 thoughts on “and that’s why i design daily…”

  1. I’d have to take issue with the sentiment here

    So admittedly, most of my designs are weak at best, but i don’t really care…

    then….

    So when someone asks me can i design? I can say yes, here’s the proof – and link to a bout 3,000 images on flickr plus direct them to this blog post which shows where my stuff has been used online. I *think* that might just answer their question better than a bit of carefully worded waffle on a CV.

    Quantity does not equal quality. What if you put up 3,000 completely awful images, does that mean you can design? Graphic design is an art form, it is not easy. And doing it lots does not make you good.

    By your own admission your ‘most designs are weak’ then you say you ‘can design’.

    Now, this isn’t meant as any kind of criticism of your work, its a criticism of your statement about design. Graphic design has a rich history, and is a highly skilled practice that takes years to grow into.

  2. Have to agree …. graphic design is an art form and you can either do it or you can’t.

    Me … I can’t. I can put a passable header together but for that extra touch I’ll go to a third party for it.

    Some of Seán’s images are great but some of them leave me asking … why did he do that?

    Like this one: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1045/5112379694_313699a227_o.jpg

    Some of his creations are great but some show the days that he was under pressure to post.

    All that aside … to post daily and put an image with the posting is an amazing achievement.

    So … overall …. the pros far outweigh the cons!

    Keep at it Sean!

  3. Yeah i agree quantity means nothing and i don’t actually like a lot of my own stuff, but because im forcing myself to do it daily, sooner or later you stumble in to quality! For every 100 images uploaded to flickr, there’s probably only 1 that i’d call ‘quality’…

    Im not a photographer or designer, but sheer work rate alone has resulted in others using my work… using the 1% or less..

    what im saying is that without the 99% crap, there’d be no quality at all… il often fluke good designs by sheer persistence, simply by opening up photoshop and forcing myself to do something!

  4. Yip, perfect example of some of my not so good stuff! And yes, that was put together with the clock against me… I feel that for me, its posts like that one which matter most.. They’re the ugly ones which don’t contribute much but for me they’re vital, simply to keep me working and in good habits..

  5. I think that was a great way to learn photoshop and I might just try it myself. I had a look at some of the images used by the sites you listed and they are pretty impressive. I think having ‘clients’ like the guardian on your cv will only stand to you:-)

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