Stay curious. Stay creative.

Embracing everyday play

Setting aside the new logo for a minute, Instagram is still one of the most popular and influential social networks in the world, with a community of over 400 million active users.

Instagram is a place where people follow their interests and aesthetic pleasures on an everyday basis. And it’s busy in the playground – over 80 million images are uploaded and shared daily.

I’ve come to appreciate the content creators who use this network to share their experiments. Those who publish their work on a regular basis, which can range from illustration to photography, 3D art and design to typography and more. In each discipline there are individuals who dedicate their time to sharing their work publicly, every single day.

36 DAYS OF TYPE

In 2014, I discovered a project on Instagram, 36 Days of Type. At the time, this project was already well under way so I started to follow as an outsider, fascinated by the diverse and creative interpretations of the letterforms being submitted.


Official image of the 3rd edition of 36 Days of Type. Made by Nuria Madrid and Cristian Malagón Garcia.

The idea for 36 Days of Type started as the work of two designers – Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea with influence from their good friend Victor Bregante to show the infinite possibilities that exist around type design.

On a specific date and for the 36 days that follow, designers, illustrators, lovers of type, and artists from anywhere in the world are invited to present their individual reinterpretations of typography. 36 Days of Type is open to everyone who wants to participate, whatever their chosen medium – photography, hand lettering, 3D, or illustration, anything goes.

You choose how, when and how much you want to submit, provided you follow the prescribed dates in the calendar. The only requirements imposed are the format of the image and the inclusion of the hashtag – #36daysoftype.

The curators of this project publish these diverse interpretations of the daily characters through their @36daysoftype social media accounts, giving visibility to established and emerging creative talent.

In 2015, I decided to take part in this 36 Days of Type project from the start. My work appeared in one of the daily project updates for my letter ‘D’ and towards the end of the project, my inflatable ‘Z’ was spotted and subsequently published by typographer Nicole Arnett Phillips as part of her Typographic.Journal series (available to purchase here).


Typograph.Journal volume 03 featuring my inflatable ‘Z’!

36 Days of Type is a typographic marathon. Not only do you explore your own personal take on typography, but you get to engage and interact with this community as you find yourself completely immersed in type with others on the same journey.

Getting published in Typographic.Journal simply by pushing my type experiments out there, made me realise the global reach of this project, and its popularity continues to grow.


Stats at the end of the 3rd edition of 36 Days of Type.

CREATIVE PLAY

This year, eight of us from our New York studio contributed to the project. It’s been a fun and creative experience to go through together, as we’ve each explored our interests in type. We’ve used the project as an excuse to practice, experiment, develop our skills and learn new ones as we go.

By taking part in 36 Days of Type from day one, we all signed up to an everyday project where we had to create and publish something daily to keep up with the letter of the day. We spent as much time as we could allow – and for the best part, this has been after hours, well into our evenings and weekends. You can view a selection from our favourite entries below, or look back on our entire journey through our New York Instagram account here.


A selection of our Elmwood entries this year.

EVERYDAYS

Taking part in 36 Days of Type has helped me to understand and appreciate the effort it requires to create and publish an ‘everyday’ image, but it also has me thinking about continuing on this journey to explore and develop my own interests in materials, shapes and typography in 3D.

There are plenty out there doing this already, such as inspiring artist Mike Winkleman (known as Beeple) who has been producing everydays now for over 9 years – that’s an image a day for over 3,000 consecutive days.

One artist I follow, Marcus Conge describes the everyday creative process like this:

Creating everyday images is about learning, and learning is practicing, and practicing is play. Anyone who is part of any creative process knows this, you have to practice every single day. Practicing teaches focus and vets out distraction. Musicians know this, scientists know this. I believe everyone should be encouraged to play at the very least – one hour a day. What you get out of it will reward you for the rest of your life.

Chad Knight is another artist, whose exploration has turned into a personally curated story that is developing over time. I’d also recommend you check out Filip Hodas and Beau Wright, who are another source of 3D inspiration and produce some pretty amazing art.

The 36 Days of Type project has sparked something in everyone who took part and it’s likely we’ll be taking part in the project in future. We’ve all gained something personally from it and so our collective thanks go out to the 36 Days of Type team.

Among the many things we’ve learned is the importance of staying curious, of experimentation and play. Build the habit of everyday creativity into your daily routine – you’ll keep learning, you’ll keep your ideas fresh. And most importantly, you’ll be inspired everyday.

 

Written by Mark O’Donnell