The 100 Day Project
This last April, Emotive Brand, an Oakland-based creative agency, embarked on a lengthy project to document and recontextualize ancient symbology for all over the world. The project was done as a part of the 100 Day Project, an online community-based event where designers and artists are tasked with exploring a theme of their choice every day, for 100 days. The parameters for the project are loose and mediums range from photography and painting to dancing and cooking. Participants share their work on Instagram via the hashtag #the100dayproject, where they gather to admire, inspire, and commiserate with one another.
Finding 100 different ways to approach the same task is quite the challenge and can make for an uncomfortable experience at times. For some people, this may result in a missed day here and there, while for others the challenge might prove to be too much. But persistence pays. Those who complete the project are left not only with a monumental feeling of accomplishment, but a few new discoveries, a handful of unexpected outcomes, and a plethora of unexplored paths to guide their future growth.
Creative growth requires diligence. By showing up every day even when we don’t feel like it, we can prove to ourselves that we don’t need to wait for inspiration to strike, because it will come while we work. Good habits and compounded time and effort are the only paths toward improving our creative problem-solving. This year, Emotive Brand tasked themselves with exploring “how ancient symbols inform contemporary brand design.” Emotive Brand is actually responsible for introducing me to the challenge and I think their resulting body of work makes for an interesting case study. As they progressed through the challenge, researching and exploring symbology from all over the world, some interesting insights began to emerge.
First, just how ingrained design is in our DNA as humans. The goals of modern logo designers are no different from those of these pictograph’s original creators. Both aim to create symbols that will come to represent something, and do so through distinctive shapes that operate on some underlying logic that ties its appearance to its meaning. As an observer, I find it interesting that simply due to the digital tools that were used to create them, many of these symbols feel modern.
Second, despite thousands of years and thousands of miles of separation, humans seem to have an innate set of values that manifest themselves regardless of environment. In times like the present, where we are paradoxically so close yet so distant from one another, there is something comforting about being shown that we have more in common than it sometimes seems. Regardless of where or when we find ourselves in the world, humans have always been thinking about the same things, we all share the same hopes and the same fears.
These are the types of heart-warming, earth-shattering realizations you too can have if you participate in the challenge. Or you can just check out the hashtag and see what everyone else is up to. The choice is yours.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.