Yesterday, I found myself reading Michael Bierut’s exercise he gives his graduate students at Yale: do a design exercise every day for 100 days. The same exercise, repeatedly. At the same time, I also happened to read this article by Sebastian Marshall about the importance of doing quantity, not quality, if you want to improve.
I mentioned on Twitter how I’d like to do this exercise one day, and got a challenge from Livia Labate: let’s do it now. If we start on March 1, it would be finished on June 8.
Because I’m insane, I said ok.
I had to find something to do, so I thought about it for a while. I wanted something that would come together to make something, yet mark the distinct days. I wanted something that could be done in under 15 minutes a day, preferably less. And I wanted something that related, however tangentially, to my day. What did I do every day already?
Aside from sleeping and eating and other hygiene (none of which would mark a day very distinctly), the one thing I do every day without fail is listen to music. Sometimes obsessively listening to the same song over and over. Sometimes the songs are meaningful, sometimes just a song. But it’s usually interesting. So my project would be around that.
I also thought back to some of my favorite assignments from graduate school, and I remembered one Dan Boyarski gave us when I first started and the Onomatopoeia Project from Kristin Hughes in Grad Type. I enjoy playing with type, so I decided on a typography project.
So here’s what I’m doing: every day for the next hundred days, I’m going to take the song I’ve listened to the most that day, pull out a meaningful or memorable lyric, and make it into a piece of expressive typography. Each day I’ll have a 6″x6″ square to put the type in. Then, I’m putting them into one enormous poster of 20 rows with 5 lyric squares each. On June 8, I should have a 3′x10′ poster (at least) of the project. I’m using whatever font works with that day’s lyric, presented in any way I want (as long as it’s in the 6″x6″ box). I started the project today with a lyric from The Beatles’ “Free as a Bird.”
Wish me luck.