When most of us think of self-initiated projects, branding for imaginary companies come to mind — maybe you’ve built out a visual system for your dream client to round out the mix in your portfolio. This was always my focus when I worked on self-initiated projects but there’s another option.
Creating a series around a specific theme that is produced on a longer term basis can can be even more beneficial because it has the ability to grow your audience and get tons of fresh eyes on your work.
Self-initiated projects are great because as they evolve, they give your audience a reason to check in regularly. Even better, they give people a reason to share your work because there’s nothing cooler than seeing a themed body of work grow week after week.
Another benefit of longer term self-initiated projects is that they clearly demonstrate a sense of consistency. You’re showing up, putting in the work and over time, your audience will take notice which in turn, will hopefully grow your freelance clientele.
5 Self-Initiated Project Examples
If you need a starting place, here are five awesome examples to get your creative juices flowing:
I’m a super fan of digital mood boards and first learned about Jess’ work by clicking on one of her beautifully composed collages on Pinterest. This series shows off her eye for design and flair for color.
I followed this project a few years ago and it was so interesting to see how the name or location of a lake could provoke a unique, branded outcome. This project was great because it showed Nicole’s breadth of branding ideas through simple concepts.
I’m obsessed with the crisp compositions of these designs paired with hits of bright pastels. Alex’s eye for clean, modern design could easily translate into a line of actual print pieces.
This self-initiated project helped launch Jessica’s career. She posted a new letter each day or so, created in an ornate style that showed off her love of hand lettering. She’s since illustrated everything from postage stamps to best-selling book covers.
Another daily poster project, this was created by a design student in India as a way to explore his love of typography. I love the simple, editorial-inspired style of this series.
Go Forth And Create!
When you think about it, the ideas for these types of projects are endless. You could create a series of book covers, artwork for your favorite albums, t-shirt designs, perfume labels, logos for makeup brands or even a collection of stamps.
It’s always great to tie these projects into a personal passion so you have that extra creative spark as the series continues on.
P.S. If you decide to create a long term self-initiated project (or already have!), let us know in the comments!