As a designer, you face new challenges every single day. What’s the secret to tackling them with confidence? Your creativity! As we know, practice makes perfect, and persistence is key. So don’t wait until creative flow takes over!
Challenges for designers are some of the best ways to get out of your comfort zone, develop your creativity and produce better work. Just like the muscles in your body, you can train and develop your design skills, too. Design challenges give your creative muscles an intense workout and take your work to a new level.
We’ve put together a few of the best challenges and games for designers – featuring everything from typography and graphic design to branding and illustration. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional, they’ll help you improve your current skills and try exciting new techniques. Read on, get involved – and find the challenge that gets your creative juices flowing.
The best design challenges
Daily UI Challenge
Who has a better understanding of the challenges designers face and the best designs than the design community itself? This was the inspiration for Daily UI. Since 2016, the network has created a daily design challenge to inspire graphic designers worldwide and help them put their skills to the test.
Now, more than 300,000 people from all sorts of disciplines take part. If you like, you can share your design using the hashtag #dailyui, or use it for your own portfolio. It’s completely free to take part – and as an added bonus, Daily UI gives away prizes such as vouchers and design tools, too.
Daily Logo Challenge
The Daily Logo Challenge is a popular design challenge. It’s free to take part – all you need to do is give your name and email address, and your creative journey is ready to begin. Every day for 50 days, you’ll receive a logo design challenge in your inbox – perfect for practising your skills or putting together your portfolio.
The Daily Logo Challenge regularly presents many people’s attempts on its social media channels, too. This allows those taking part to get feedback from other designers.
A fantastic opportunity to learn and grow together. With each day of the competition, you’ll take your skills in the fine art of logo design that little step further.
Inktober is an October illustration challenge for free spirits and creatives. Jake Parker brought this passion project to life back in 2009. The illustrator wanted to improve his colouring skills and develop positive drawing habits.
Thousands of people now take part in the challenge every year. A growing number use digital tools instead of pen and ink. The best thing about Inktober is there are no strict rules or ‘wrong’ ways to do it.
Inktober is a blank canvas where you can express yourself in every way you can possibly imagine. It frees you from the monotony of everyday tasks and stimulates creative flow.
There are two ways to take part:
- Inktober Classic runs from 1 to 31 October. Using the official Inktober prompt list, you’ll create 31 drawings in 31 days – which you can share on social media with the hashtags #inktober and #inktober24.
- Inktober52 is a longer-term project that’s a little more chill: every week for a year, you’ll be sent a prompt. You’ll use your prompts to complete a total of 52 drawings – which you can post online using the #inktober52 hashtag.
Inspired by Inktober, Vectober is a challenge for digital artists. Those who take part create an illustration using vector tools every day in October. However, there’s no central organisation for this challenge. So the most important thing is that you think about what you’d like to achieve. Then all you need to do is stay the course – and have fun too, of course!
Some creatives seek out their own subject matter or work with the Inktober list of prompts. Others set up their own Vectober challenge and use their example to inspire others.
That’s what Affinity user and vector expert Jhonatan Silva did in 2021 and 2022 – with his YouTube channel and the design school and community Vectorize Club, where you can find inspiration.
The 100-day challenge
Every year, thousands of people all over the world set themselves the task of practising creativity for 100 days in a row. They either set their own challenge, spurred on by family, friends and social media followers, or take inspiration from #the100dayproject.
The idea behind the 100-day challenge is simple: find a creative project – whether it’s photography or vector illustrations – and do it every day for 100 days. Share your progress on social media along the way.
The best way to do this is to use a specific hashtag such as #100daysofvector or #100daysofillustration. If you’re taking part in the official #The100DayProject, other people taking part can follow your progress using that hashtag.
36 Days of Type challenge
Typography is a cornerstone of graphic design, but this challenge isn’t just about fonts and lettering: Barcelona-based Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea created 36 Days of Type as a personal project in 2014.
It has since become a renowned typography and graphic design challenge. Every day during the challenge, you’ll design your own take on the letters from A to Z and numbers from 0 to 9.
The challenge takes place once a year, usually between February and April. The exact start date is announced a few days in advance.
Behance Daily Creative Challenge
Behance is a social media platform from Adobe for creatives from a range of different disciplines. You can use it to present your portfolio and be inspired by other people’s work. You can also take part in the platform’s Daily Creative Challenges.
These help you showcase and improve your Adobe Xd and Adobe Photoshop skills. The challenges run for five days. They include a community chat, daily live stream and feedback from mentors and other people taking part.
DTIYS – ‘Draw This In Your Own Style’
DTIYS is an art challenge. You get an existing manga or comic illustration as a template and use it to do your own thing. It’s up to you whether you use a digital tool or a pencil and paintbrush. There’s no technical restrictions or time limit.
If you have your own ideas and want to draw a character in a different pose or change the colours, for instance, you’re free to do so. When you posting your version, use the hashtag #dtiysoff.
The best graphic design games
If you’re too busy or not feeling bold enough for a design challenge right now, you can flex your creative muscles through play:
Can you colour us impressed? With Color Method, you can test and train your own colour perception in six different categories: hue, saturation, complementary colours, analogous colours, triadic and tetradic colours.
The game is played using an interactive colour wheel. The aim is to use the mouse to find specific colours and schemes on the wheel. The catch? You’ve only got 15-20 seconds to click the right colour.
How do your eagle eye and steady hand deal with pixels? Pixactly shows you specific pixel dimensions for length and width. You use the mouse and crosshair pointer to draw a box that matches these measurements as precisely as possible. This helps improve your accuracy when working with pixels.
The game has five rounds and you score depends on how close the boxes you draw come to the exact measurements. At the end, you’ll get an overall score and find out whether you excelled at working out pixel width or height.
The Bézier Game
The Bézier Game follows a similar principle and helps you master using a pen tool. It’s a playful, low-stakes way to improve your skills with the pen tool found in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. It’s easy to play – simply follow the paths shown to create simple and more complex shapes.
Have you ever wished you could assign the right colour to a hex code straight away? That’s the challenge of Hex Invaders. The website simulates a video game interface. Your job is to destroy the invaders on your screen – by matching the hexadecimal code you receive to the right colour.
Sound complicated? Not to worry – the games shows you how to define hex codes for specific colours before you get started. This gives you an initial idea of what to do.
Got that creative spark and ready for your first – or next – design challenge? Wondering how you’d score in one of the design games? Then get started and let us know your creative workout goes!