GOOD Design Daily: Michael Bierut's 100-Day Design Workshop

For the past five years, Michael Bierut has been giving his students a simple assignment: Perform a "design operation" and repeat it for 100 days.

Undertaking a daily project—conceptualizing, executing, and documenting some task every 24 hours—has become a popular exercise for designers and people in other creative fields. This process seems to push these poor self-experimenters to the brink of sanity somewhere near day 87, but it also spurs exceptionally creative thought. Over at Design Observer, Michael Bierut writes about a workshop he's given at Yale for the past five years where he tells design students to perform a "design operation" once a day, for 100 days.

Lauren Adolfsen photographed herself with a new person every day and turned the results into the book "& Lauren." Not a bad way to get to know new people.

Benjamin Critton put 100 random objects up for sale, some of which sold and garnered him a nifty profit. Nothing like a perpetual garage sale to raise a little extra money.


Jieun Rim filmed her walk to school every day for 100 days and edited them into one long stroll in "Steppin' Out."


Hilla Katki's One Chair project is simple yet demonstrates true design thinking: She found 100 different uses for a folding chair.


The most famous 100-day workshopper of all according to Bierut is Ely Kim, who each day choreographed a different dance, and performed it in a different place. He filmed the results, an you can see them in his unbelievable video "BOOMBOX." Also important is the inclusion of his playlist.

There are many more student projects from Bierut's classes. Each demonstrates the power of creative thought, but they're also examples of simple little exercises that anyone can build into their daily routine. Taking a few minutes to make your mind bend a different way is a valuable tool for your well-being. I can almost guarantee, for example, that your life would be better if you took the time to dance like Ely Kim.


When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

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