Achievement Unlocked: 100 Days of Icons

I accomplished a 100-day project called “100 Days of Icons” starting from 10/01/2016 to 01/09/2017. I designed one icon each day for 100 days without break. It was my first 100-day project and I’ve learned a lot from this process.

(Welcome to view the whole icon collection on my Instagram. 👇)

Why did I take this challenge?

  1. To satisfy my creative desire and gain a daily sense of accomplishment. I like to create, but when the life gets stuck in a rut, it’s not easy to arouse the creativity. Therefore, I decided to make a small change everyday to gradually release my creative desire and have fun!
  2. To see if I can stick to doing one thing for 100 days. I’ve seen many people accomplished their 100-day projects and I was always surprised and inspired by them. There is a Chinese saying that it’s better to start weaving a fishing net, than merely coveting fish near the pool.
  3. To train my skills. As a UX Designer who is also interested in graphic design but doesn’t have a formal design background, I want to practice MORE. I believe that practice makes perfect.

How did I do?

For the whole project

Day 1 - 50: Before starting, I listed out everyday topic for the first 50 days including different themes such as transportations, sports, my hobbies, foods and animals. Just to explore any style I like and enjoy the pleasure brought by creating.

Day 51 - 100: Began to play with animated icons, and began to think about the style I wanted to try for that day ---- Material design? Flat design? Or…

For daily design process

Step 1: Explore and get inspirations by browsing Google images. “What does a monkey look like?” “How did others draw it?”

Step 2: Sketch on paper. Simplify the lines.

Step 3: Draw the icon on Sketch (sometimes on Adobe Illustrator and After Effects) and polish the details.

Step 4: Upload to Instagram.

I gained...

  1. A keen eye for detail
  2. A stronger sense of responsibility
  3. A new interest in my professional domain ---- animation design
  4. An open mind to keep learning and sharing

Some tips for a 100-day project

  1. Make it as simple as you can. Don’t put too many rules on your project. Focus on the content itself. Otherwise, you will feel hard to keep going.
  2. List the topics beforehand. Since I wrote down the topics for the first 50 days, I felt comfortable that I didn’t need to struggle to come up with an idea. There were two times I felt laborious during the process (the day 63 and day 83) in that I didn’t prepare the topic after 50 days and I ran out of my ideas sometimes. Thus... the next tip is important....
  3. Upload your work to Instagram (or other social platforms). I got encouraged by the support from my friends and some strangers. It’s also a motivation for me. I’m grateful for your companionship.
Last four days

I really enjoyed the process and the time I spent drawing each icon. I became concentrated, peaceful and happy when I focused on ideating the icon, polishing the details and sometimes exploring interesting effects to better express my ideas. I finished my last four icons at the airport waiting for an ad hoc trip for a family emergency, on a night flight to New York with a restless heart, in the emergency room accompanying my sister and at the hotel enduring a sleepless night. That was a hard time in my life, and this project became a spiritual support for me. I was glad that I could work on it and retrieve the peace of mind at the end of the day.

Thank you for reading!

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Product Designer @ Redfin

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Beijuan Miao

Beijuan Miao

Product Designer @ Redfin

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