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    What can you do with 100 days of making? Gravitate’s design team pondered this question when we discovered The 100-Day Project from The Great Discontent three months ago.

    The project was less about creating a polished product for 100 days in a row, but about celebrating process and the creative practice. It was also about simply showing up, posting your work to Instagram day after day and sharing your creations with your friends and The 100-Day Project community.

    Our design team — five designers strong — embarked on this ambitious journey in April. And on July 14, three of our designers crossed the finish line by tapping the Instagram share button for the 100th time: Melanie Graham and her 100 days of icons, Jessica Shiner and her 100 days of patterns, and Miranda Slayter with her 100 days of addresses.

    Here’s a little insight into their process, what they learned from the project, and what they loved about #The100DayProject community.

    Melanie Graham / #100DaysOfMyLifeInIcons

    Describe your project:

    I challenged myself to design, from scratch, one icon per day for 100 days. The icon had to relate to some aspect of my personal life, past or present, and I wrote a short description with each post.

    What was your favorite post?

    Icons function as a small, succinct visual cue that is the result of distilling a larger concept, so I’m proud of my attempt to simplify the experience of a Chinese tea ritual without losing some of the specific, discerning aspects. If I were to focus on the story that accompanies a specific icon, I would choose my icon of two wedding rings, which reflects on the trials and blessings of a long-term relationship. That particular post generated some of the most sincere and insightful responses.

    What was the most unexpected aspect of the project?

    I’ve never been one to talk openly about my life on social media. In fact, I had a negative attitude towards people who would overshare, but I ended up reconnecting with old friends who were involved with an icon of a past memory. There were even a couple of followers, whom I’ve never met, that could relate to some of my experiences and would contribute a part of their story in the comments section. One of the best surprises was a follower offering to show me where to find the best ramen if I ever visit Austin.

    Looking around #The100DayProject community, what’s your favorite project?

    I was entertained and intrigued by the concept of #100daysofjelly because I had no idea you could have so many beautiful, unique, and quirky variations of jelly. I also like #100daysofoutfitsketches where she illustrated her outfit with some cute details and explored the idea of getting better acquainted with her wardrobe.

    Thinking retrospectively about your own project, what would you do differently?

    I wish less of my icons were food. Even though some of them have to do with the experience around a particular food item, rather than the pure consumption of it, it’s pretty sad to have food comprise 20% of my significant life attributes.

    Describe the 100-Day experience in one word:

    It’s a tossup between inspiring and exhausting.

    Jessica Shiner / #100DaysOfPatterntastic


    Describe your project:

    For #100DaysofPatterntastic, I photographed patterns found in my day-to-day life. I then created hand-drawn replica patterns in my sketchbook. These patterns included all mediums: fabric, paper, stone, and industrial objects (grates, fences, storm drains), and I posted them side-by-side. The industrial theme mixed with organic, more fluid patterns kept the project interesting. I could feel myself getting better as the project went on, more confident in my lines, thinking more systematically, and coming up with a plan from the start instead of figuring it out partway through.

    What was your favorite post?

    My favorite post was my final post. It’s a vintage wallpaper from my Uncle Augie and Aunty Lou’s guest room. I spent countless hours surrounded by that pattern, drawing and playing. I took the photograph in 2009 when they moved out of the top story of the house they had lived in for 30 years. My Uncle Augie could no longer do the stairs. This wallpaper will always hold a special place in my heart. The photograph reminds me of the sadness of leaving your childhood behind and the cherished memories that were shared there.

    What was the most unexpected aspect of the project?

    I never anticipated the sense of community and support that this project would hold. I’ve connected with several other creatives that were creating patterns, and we’ve shared in our struggles and victories. Another surprise was that people from all parts of my life started sending me patterns they encountered, that was really cool and I was kind of blown away by it.

    Looking around #The100DayProject community, what’s your favorite project?

    It’s gotta be #100daysofsadanimalfacts. A quirky illustration style paired with witty commentary and an actual (somewhat depressing) animal fact is a killer combo. You have to check it out for yourself.

    Thinking retrospectively about your own project, what would you do differently?

    The quality of photography ended up playing a larger role than I anticipated. If I could do it again I would have setup a photo booth where I could take more consistent and quality photographs of my drawn patterns. I spent many a night hunched over my sketchbook trying to get it just right.

    Describe the 100-Day experience in one word:

    Whirlwind.

    Miranda Slayter / #100DaysOfAddresses


    Describe your project:

    I knew I wanted to do something with hand lettering, but it felt too broad and I saw that a lot of people were doing that. So I tried to think of how I could narrow it down. After seeing some beautiful hand-lettered examples of addresses by some of my favorite letterers, I knew I wanted to use this as my niche. You rarely see hand written addresses anymore; everything is done by computer. There are so many elements you get to play with in an address: names, streets, and numbers. Designating hierarchy and balance between those elements is the best part. I wish I had more people to write to now that this project has ended.

    What was your favorite post?

    Out of 100 days, just one?! I would have to say on a lettering skill level, my Wishbone post was my favorite. But on a pure enjoyment level, it was my Ace Ventura post, of course. (My love for Ace is strong, if you haven’t looked at Gravitate’s video and found my easter egg, you should go do that right now.)

    What was the most unexpected aspect of the project?

    The intense amount of paper I used, lol jk. You don’t really think about something so small that takes such a short amount of time being a difficult thing to accomplish. I was about four days behind at one point and really contemplated whether I would continue. I just had to stick with it. I was watching people drop off or get way behind and that only encouraged me more to continue and be amongst the elite to finish to 100.

    Looking around #The100DayProject community, what’s your favorite project?

    I really enjoyed watching anyone who was doing lettering for inspiration. Though the ones that stuck out the most #100daysofhedgehoghats and #100daysofemail.

    Thinking retrospectively about your own project, what would you do differently?

    Some of the days I just shipped it to ship it. I wish I would have got more creative in the beginning to see what I would have ended up like. I think I could have improved my skills even more so than I did.

    Describe the 100-Day experience in one word:

    Enlightening.