I have a demanding work schedule, and rarely get time for purely recreational ‘arts and crafts’. If this sounds familiar to you, then it is exactly the reason you might need to deliberately carve out the time for a personal project.
We do need to occasionally stop and smell the roses so that we don’t altogether lose the ability to slow down every once in a while. This is especially true if you happen to be in a creative profession, like art, design, advertising, etc. A personal project needn’t be a humongous undertaking, calling for a massive outlay of time, energy and resources. If it brings you joy and lets you ‘play’, why, it’s the perfect personal project! That it may also energize you, open your mind, allow you to use old skills, pick up new skills, learn a craft or two, are all just very welcome accidents. I’m currently enjoying designing button-badges.
Personal projects allow for Cognitive Flexibility (the ability to think of multiple concepts simultaneously) and Cognitive Persistence (the ability to stick to a task till completion). These projects may have an element of profitability, but it’s best not to push it. Trying to monetize a personal project can oftentimes prove counterproductive. If everything is a ‘job’, what is leisure?
Another advantage of perusing personal projects is that they can help us grow through creative exploration. We might be inclined to use a new tool, a new medium or simply develop a new skill. The experimentation is what unlocks learning, helps us flex our creative muscles and builds confidence.
Being a branding designer based in busy, busy Dubai, my personal projects has often given me pause, and allowed me to give my creativity free run – no deadlines, no constraints, no agenda except personal growth.
If you happen to stay in Dubai like me, or plan to visit, here are a few inspiring places to visit to get a truckload of design ideas - Cinema Akil is an independent cinema based in Dubai that screens quality films from across the world. From full-fledged film festivals to one-off special screenings and exclusive events, this is a cinema experience you won’t find anywhere else in the UAE. Alserkal Avenue is another such venue, which comprises of 40 odd warehouses converted into galleries, dance studios, artisanal cafes and more. This neighbourhood is often visited by designers, art lovers, and other curious minds since it has long nurtured a culture of creativity and is now one of the region’s leading art hubs. I hope you get to visit these hangouts and get inspired for taking up personal projects. I’ll be heading out to them this weekend. Some Dubai based inspiration for a Dubai based designer!