Stefani Wilkens
Stefani Wilkens | Graphic Designer

journal

Just Messing Around

As a designer, I'm a big fan of personal projects. Whether it's a quick hand lettering piece or a more thought out branding concept, personal passion projects can help you grow in many ways. They can get you out of a creative rut, help you master new skills and design techniques, or just provide a break from your "typical" work. I personally find that they're a great way to get back in touch with myself as a designer. Those of us in the professional world can so easily get caught up in a specific client that our own passions and interests get a bit lost in the dizzying haze of corporate style guides and powerpoint design.

That's why personal projects, especially quick ones, are so great. They don't have to be groundbreaking or perfect, the entire point of them is to have fun and enjoy the design process.

If you couldn't already guess, today I'm going to be sharing a quick one-off design that I created simply because the idea made me laugh. 

It all started with a group text. You know the type I'm talking about – the ones that include more than just a few of your friends and inevitably devolve into inside jokes and hilarity. 

Anyways, the conversation in this particular group message at this particular point in time revolved around a photo that was taken while I was competing in the Adobe Creative Jam. All of the members of this particular text group had come out to cheer me on – yes, they're wonderful human beings.

This particular competition happened to be taking place in a historic theater in downtown Charleston. It was a gorgeous space, and my friends decided to explore a bit. That was how they discovered a blank movie poster display. Naturally, (and with just the teensiest bit of help from the open bar) they decided that they needed to strike a pose for their own feature film. 

My friends are killing it, if I do say so myself!

Yes, here are my lovely friends in all their glory! The photo was a hit – and a main point of discussion in the group text the following day. 

Somewhere along the line, someone mentioned that they wanted to make the photo an actual poster to hang in the kitchen. (I'm not entirely sure where we were going with this, but I was 100% on board.) I was having a bit of a slow day, so I took the initiative...

Some strategic cropping and filtering, a condensed font, and a killer tagline were all it took for my friends to become famous.

Yes, I turned my friends into movie stars and I did it for no other reason than that it would make them laugh, which they did – for days. And that, my friends, is the entire purpose of passion projects – to bring joy to yourself and others.

One of my friends even paid to have the poster professionally printed and it now hangs in her house, on the wall, where people can actually see it. Now that's success if I do say so myself ;)

What was your most random passion project? Where did the inspiration come from? Leave a comment and let us all know!