These days, most every graphic designer is familiar with the term, procrastiworking. Coined by celebrated type designer, Jessica Hische, the word describes those projects which we find ourselves doing when we really should be doing something else. More often than not, these procrasti-projects reveal our true passions, as we could spend all day doing them without ever getting paid — and often do.
Case in point, my recent pro bono poster design for Mt Ashland Ski Area. As with most successful procrasti-projects, this one was born from a commission with no set creative direction — AKA, I got to do whatever the hell I wanted.
In the back of my RV is a storage bin labeled, “DESIGN INSPIRATION” filled with coasters, posters, packaging and paper swatches. This time, I dug up the Uinta Brewing Company 6-pack carrier I squirreled away during my road trip, along with a Seattle bicycle brochure echoing the color palette I was shooting for.
The result was a completely hand-drawn, hand-lettered poster (save for the event details) which took over 12 hours to complete and utilized 10 separate layers in Illustrator. Sketched on graph paper, the lettering was then scanned and traced along with the other illustrations via my WACOM tablet.
As mentioned above, my payment for this project was a whopping $0.00. However, I spent more late nights and excited mornings bringing it to life than I care to admit, happily neglecting my paid projects to follow my wild whimsy.
I believe — as Jessica does — that these types of projects are essential to keeping your creativity alive as a designer. Always working from a brief is stifling, and distances designers from their true artistic style. So I encourage you, faithful readers: procrastiwork your hearts out! Trust me, it’s worth the $0.