Many new years resolutions involve exercise, whether it’s joining a gym or fitness class or taking up a sport or running. But if you’re an artist or designer, giving your creative muscles a work out is a high priority too.
Luckily there are plenty of prompt generators and creative challenges out there to help you build on your core skills, learn new ones and speed up your process through consistent practice.
Whatever your creative goal in 2022, here are ten design challenges that could help you achieve it.
1. The Daily logo challenge
Are you looking to up your logo game? Then The Daily Logo Challenge could be the perfect way to get that all-important practice and level-up your skills.
Simply sign up at dailylogochallenge.com to receive a new prompt to your inbox every day for the next 50 days, then fire-up Affinity Designer and get to work creating a fresh logo inspired by each day’s prompt.
Don’t forget to share your work on Instagram and Dribbble using the hashtag #dailylogochallenge for a chance to receive feedback or get featured on their socials.
Sharpen is a straightforward design challenge generator that provides fresh prompts at the click of a button. Just choose your category—Branding, Marketing or Product/UX, click ‘New Challenge’, and a new prompt will appear instantly on screen for you to practise and get creative with, and as there is no set deadline, you can start a new challenge whenever you like.
3. 36 Days of Type
36 Days of Type is a challenge that encourages designers, illustrators and graphic artists to get creative with the Latin Alphabet by illustrating each of the 36 letters and numbers in their own unique style.
What started out as a personal project by Spanish graphic designers Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea to challenge themselves to create something new around typography and graphic design every day began to grow as they invited more people to join. The challenge now attracts thousands of participants each year who share their artworks via Instagram, using the project’s hashtags to submit and enter their work.
Each day, a curated selection of entries is chosen by the team to feature on the official 36 Days of Type account until the end of the challenge.
The dates for each new edition are usually released a few days before the official start. This happens between February and April. Visit the 36daysoftype website for further details.
If you’d like some inspiration, check out the incredible illustrations created by graphic designer Mario De Meyer in last year’s challenge—all created using Affinity Designer.
“When I saw the possibilities of the Contour Tool with a compound shape, I really wanted to play around with it and do something type-related. Since this is an effect you have to see live, I decided to just do screen recording so people could see how I made these. It’s a bit of an unorthodox way of working, but at the same time, it’s really interesting and fun.”
You can learn more about Mario’s process in this tutorial—Creating a bold numerical design with Mario De Meyer.
4. Daily UI
Daily UI is a design prompt website that has been around since 2016. It was set up to help UI and UX designers further their skills and create new work to add to their portfolios. Since then, over 250,000 designers have taken on the challenge.
You can sign up at any time to get a free User Interface design challenge sent to your inbox for 100 days. There are no strict deadlines, so you could save the prompts to work on whenever you have time, although consistency is key if you’re looking to develop your skills. Also, as a bonus, you can earn free design resources for taking part.
Don’t forget to share your work on Dribble or Twitter with #dailyui or search the hashtag for inspiration and to see what other participants have been doing.
5. Dribbble’s Weekly Warm-Up
Dribbble is an online community where designers display their work, offer feedback and search for new ideas. In the ‘Inspiration’ category, you’ll find their Weekly Warm-Up—a challenge in which the team post a prompt to encourage their members to work their creative muscles and create something unique each week.
Many of the prompts incorporate three main elements. A theme, such as music, a particular location or a seasonal event. An aesthetic constraint—like a limited colour palette or one style of typeface, and a specified format—an app icon, poster, webpage or illustration, for example. And you can see how others have tackled the challenge by taking a moment to look at the ‘Rebounds’ underneath the prompt.
Make sure you tag your work as dribbbleweeklywarmup if you decide to take part for a chance to feature on Dribbble’s social media accounts or their monthly roundup blog post.
6. Draw This in Your Style
Draw This in Your Style (DTIYS for short) is an art challenge where creatives draw their own interpretation of an existing piece of work submitted by a fellow artist. Here’s how to take part:
- Search the hashtag #drawthisinyourstyle on your preferred social media platform.
- Find a piece of artwork that appeals to you and recreate it in your own unique style.
- Share it on the platform and give credit to the original artist—along with tagging the creator, participants often include an image of the original artwork in their post for comparison.
Participating in design challenges, especially on Instagram, is a great way to find inspiration and connect with other artists, as Affinity user Sabine Koenig explains:
“This kind of competition is a way for me to move out of my comfort zone. Often there is a certain time pressure behind it, a bit like a deadline—this is a good way to get things done for me. I also find the contact with other participants very inspiring.”
7. The 100 Day Challenge
Every year, thousands of artists all over the world set themselves the task to create consecutively for 100 days, either as a self-initiated challenge spurred on by family and friends and social media followers or as part of the #the100dayproject, which is now in its 9th consecutive year and begins 13 February 2022.
The idea behind the 100 day challenge is simple: choose a creative project—it could be photography, lettering or vector illustration, do it every day for 100 days and share your progress on social media. We recommend you use a relevant hashtag for your theme, such as #100daysofvector or #100daysofillustration, and if you’re taking part in the official #The100DayProject use their hashtag too so fellow participants can check out your work.
“I honestly started the project with the main goal to learn how to use Affinity, but also to be more consistent with my daily art practice. At the same time, it was a drive to explore and develop my own illustration style. It taught me the importance of consistency when it comes to learning something new, but also expanded my creativity and forced me to step out of my comfort zone.”
You can see more of Mariana’s 100 Days of Illustration project on her Instagram account by_marianatoledo.
Another well-known challenge that began as a personal project is Inktober. In 2009, illustrator Jake Parker created Inktober as a way to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since captured the imagination of artists all around the world, with thousands participating in the challenge every year, and a growing number are now using digital tools over traditional media—check out our 2021 round up for inspirational work created in Affinity.
For the uninitiated, there are two ways to take part. Inktober Classic runs from 1st—31st October, and the concept is to create 31 drawings over 31 days using the official Inktober prompt list, then post them on social media with #inktober and #inktober2022.
Inktober52 is a weekly drawing challenge for the entire year, and the premise is simple—to create 52 drawings (one for each week in the year) using the official weekly prompt and post using the hashtag #inktober52 on social media.
By signing up for the Inktober newsletter, you get the weekly prompts, plus inspiration and advice from fellow artists taking part.
A regular participant in Inkober is Paraguayan artist and Affinity user Renato Pedrina.
“I have always loved to draw, so when I found out about the Inktober event a few years back, I decided to try it out, and I loved the challenge. It inspired me to get creative with my content, to be able to use the Affinity Designer app better and to explore more tools and styles. It also helped me be more consistent with my art and more efficient, so I’m really happy I decided to try it out. From my experience, it gets more challenging but better every year.”
Vectober is a challenge inspired by Inktober, in which digital artists use vector tools to create an illustration a day throughout October.
Some artists choose to run their own Vectober challenge, providing prompts to help inspire others, such as Affinity user and vector teacher Jhonatan Silva, while others use their own themes or the Inktober prompt list to challenge themselves. The most important thing with this challenge—and any other challenge—is to decide what you want to get out of it, be consistent, and have fun!
“It’s not easy for everybody to keep doing an illustration every day for an entire month, but those who get into the challenge often see huge workflow improvements and achieve great results. Techniques that would normally take months to learn, can be accomplished in just a matter of days.”
10. Self-initiated challenges
The value of personal or passion projects is clear—they allow you to create, experiment and express yourself fully without the limitations of a brief, and self-initiated challenges do just the same.
If you’re not sure where to start, try brainstorming some ideas. What are you curious about? What would you like to get better at? What have other people done that you find interesting? By making a list of these things, you’ll narrow down what your perfect challenge could be.
Some artists also impose restrictions such as a maximum time to spend each day/week/month (be realistic about how much time you can spare) or using a limited colour palette which helps them stick to their challenge.
For example, Affinity user Vlad Grama challenged himself to create 365 posters—one each day throughout 2019. You can learn more about his journey here.
In 2020, illustrator and graphic designer Andrew Salfinger set himself the challenge to create a hybrid vector and raster illustration each month to share on social media. You can read more about his project here.
The great thing about setting your own challenge is you make the rules—100 days not manageable? Aim to create something once a week or once a month if that’s what your schedule allows. Just try to be consistent and stick to what you have planned, and who knows, you might inspire someone else along the way.