Graphic Design Podcast :: The Deeply Graphic DesignCast

Passionate About Passion Projects

Passionate About Passion Projects

Passion projects!

You may have a design business, or be trying to start one. Or maybe you are knee deep in advertising design at your firm, or sketching icons for your companies next big operating system.

But all work and no play makes Jill/Jack a dull girl/boy! Creative people need to create — it’s likely that very drive got you into the field you work in now — but sometimes you need to stretch your creative muscles and do something for yourself.

Forget what clients want, or what is “proper” design, or all the best practices for creating something for someone else.

That’s what passion projects are — doing something you want for the joy and pleasure of it, with the prospect of making money from it a distant second in priority to simply enjoying it.

Wes McDowell, Mikelle Morrison, and Nick Longo talk about the benefits of graphic design passion projects, and let us know some of the things they do to flex those creative muscles for their own benefit.

Mikelle covers how she disconnects from the digital and makes spending quality time in the real world with her real child a passion project. It’s never easy to tune out all the noise and switch gears from modern communication to just being present for those that need you, and can be a worthy project all its own.

Nick talks about a project for his graphic design class involving creating social media accounts, not for personal use, but to talk about what they are passionate about.

Your down-time is important, not to mention hard to come by. How do you want to spend it? You can check Facebook again, sure. Who knows, maybe some friend did something fun in the last half-hour! Or, maybe better, do you want to keep your creative juices flowing on a project just for you?

There could be something you want to get better at, to learn more about — a passion project is exactly the ticket.

Do you need too beef up your portfolio a bit? Setting yourself on a client-free passion project can fill up your collection of logos or website mock-ups in a hurry.

And a good passion project doesn’t even have to be in your field. How many of those interesting inventions you use daily were put together by someone with a passion for solving some everyday problem?

Nick brings us up to speed about something exactly like this — a healthy candy company he hopes may pick up into something big, but for now is a passion project where his drive and the joy of doing it is what is moving it forward.

Listener Question:

Wes is asked what his favorite design podcasts are (besides his own, of course!)

Show Links

  • Just The Case — Laser engraved, real wood cases for your iPhone. A passion project turned successful venture!
  • Print It Forward — Buy shirts to benefit Daniel E. Johnson Memorial Scholarship fund at saa! A passion project that benefits education!
  • Lead and Light — Minimalist, design focused tee shirts!
  • Shutterstock – Visit Shutterstock and check out their massive selection of stock images for your designs. Be sure to use the promo code DEEP914 for a 20% discount on any subscription!
  • – Visit to start your 7 day free trial! There is no place out there quite like — you can learn at your own pace on so many subjects and at such a good price.

discuss this post

(3) responses

Adam C

December 1, 2014

Loved this episode – thanks for sharing all the resources. Got me fired up and wanting to do more passion projects! Keep up the great work



December 28, 2014

WOW, I could not agree more. Passion projects have changed my life and literally took me from being a workaholic (working for someone else) to being a more complete creative. I committed to creating something for my blog, The Kitchen Project, every day for seven days just as an experiment, and I’ve been doing it for 2 years now (not every day, c’mon man). It was amazing what happened when I stopped focusing 100% on my day job.I had more balance and I became a better designer.

My biggest problem at this point is that I have so many passion projects on my back burner that I can barely stand it!


Share Lettering

October 1, 2015

[…] Favorite Episode: DesignCast 71: Passionate About Passion Projects […]


add to the conversation!

Leave a Reply

Browse All Episodes
Thank you. Your video is being is emailed to you now!