Would you go to the "design gym" with me?

I’m a sucker for companionship & social pressure. I used to hit the gym several times a week with a friend, and our friendly competition left me strong & feeling great. Then he moved away and I’ve largely turned into a wad of cookie dough.

Lots of apps & services exist to help to help people stay honest & to support one another’s diet & exercise. (Peer pressure can be a wonderful thing.)  Meanwhile I’ve seen years of advice that designers should commit to making something new every day, I haven’t yet seen one that

  • pings you with a daily (or weekly, etc.) challenge
  • provides assets or a theme to build upon
  • lets you see & comment on others’ work
  • provides a rewards system (highest rank, possibly prizes, etc.)


So, hypothetically, let’s say Photoshop Touch said “Today’s 5-minute challenge: Create the most interesting thing you can using just these elements…,” let you upload your work, and then vote on others’ creations. Would you do it?  I think you might–but only if the rewards were enticing enough.  It’s like brushing your teeth, doing sit-ups, etc.: you make things part of your routine if they make you stronger, fitter, richer.  Could we help you practice your skills & become those things?

11 thoughts on “Would you go to the "design gym" with me?

  1. Intriguing. Although I think you’ll also want to make room in such an application/service for the less social to play with the provided assets but not necessarily share it back out with the public – i.e. private participation. Some people like to “play” alone.
    I do like the idea of an app “pinging” you to do something creative and providing tools/inspiration to start you off on that week’s/month’s creative exercise.
    As far as rewards – there’s a lot of ways to go about this. But in the spirit of creativity, maybe the rewards should be less monetary/prize oriented and more experience oriented. Like perhaps a free trip to a local art museum and then perhaps for a once-a-year competition, a paid 3-day trip to some world famous art/design museum or even spend a day with a famous artist/designer.

  2. I like this. Could be like a match of Layer Tennis as well where you could share a layout with a group of friends and they could check in and Play with your creation and save it then someone else could check in and play with it until you have collaborated and made something completely different and unique. Maybe there could be a person that could check in on a Versus match where 2 people would be the Artists and another could be a real time judge that could leave comments between volleys. You know what Layer Tennis is… COuld be fun.

  3. I love the idea of an app encouraging me to do something. The fact that the task would most likely be enjoyable, since I enjoy noodling around in PS Touch, means I’d be more likely to actually act on the ping and finish the task.

  4. I was thinking the exact same thing a few weeks ago. I think the reward system is key. And not sure if an app will do it, more likely a local friend or two would be best.

  5. Many design and Photoshop forums do this to some level or another with varying degrees of participation and success (two different things).
    I love the idea, but have a hard time motivating myself. Goods as prizes really aren’t enough for me, but feedback and discussion would be awesome. So you have two possible vectors there.
    A tangible rewards system would be difficult without rolling sponsorship, and potentially limits you based on market, etc. However, if a framework could be put in place, I can see lots of potential for *locally* sponsored rewards. Let’s say you walk into a coffee shop who participates and you fire up the tablet – signing on gets you a note about “today’s challenge”. Posting your results to FB/Twitter with some kind of branding note gets you a free pastry or something. In busy towns you might post to a local board and a winner could be chosen, whatever. The challenge could be regional, or very local.
    As for non-tangible, ad hoc judging could be helpful, but opens you up to all the usual negativity which leads to every forum’s bane: assholes. 🙂
    Another possible solution would be to have volunteer judges or critiques. Still tricky to coordinate, but might provide a really good draw, with caveats.

  6. yes and it isn’t just touch.
    I can see someone on G+ for example, running a weekly contest using just a few tools, especially the less used ones like art history or some of the new features like blur gallery.
    Provide the picture, let participants vote or just do random, and feature the previous winner’s site/work.

  7. This exists already, of course, via web sites such as Worth1000.com and FreakingNews.com and Choppix — and many more. The unique elements that I see here are the time allowed, the provided (restricted?) sources, and the whimsy of “NOW — DO IT!” … that appeals to me.
    I don’t need rewards — what I would prefer is discussion about how and why and blatant reveals on technique.

  8. Great Idea, just do it. I think it would be a benefit in so many ways, not only learning new tools, but old things too you forget about over time. It could be so game like fun and addicting. Where do I sign up?

  9. Love it. I’d be participating – reminders would be essential and although the thought process could take a few hours, I think the actual execution would have to be 5 or 10 minutes max or it will be seen as work rather than fun .

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