Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

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Have you ever struggled to complete a design project on time? Or felt that having a tight deadline stifled your capacity for maximum creativity? If so, then this book is for you.Within Creative Workshop, you'll find 80 creative challenges...
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Have you ever struggled to complete a design project on time? Or felt that having a tight deadline stifled your capacity for maximum creativity? If so, then this book is for you.

Within Creative Workshop, you'll find 80 creative challenges that will help you achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. Exercises range from creating a typeface in an hour to designing a paper robot in an afternoon to designing web pages and other interactive experiences. Each exercise includes compelling visual solutions from other designers and background stories to help you increase your capacity to innovate.

This book also includes useful brainstorming techniques and wisdom from some of today's top designers. By road-testing these techniques as you attempt each challenge, you'll find new and more effective ways to solve tough design problems and bring your solutions to vibrant life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This book will help you connect the eye to the brain to the hand, so you won't have to search for inspiration the next time you generate a design."
--Michael Surtees,

"This book strikes me as a collection of exceedingly useful exercises; not just as a means for practice and exploration, but useful to developing designers in discovering processes that work best for them. In that regard and others, much of what is offered here will serve designers throughout their careers."
--Andy Rutledge, Principal and Chief Design Strategist at Unit Interactive

"Creativity really is mostly perspiration, but it still starts with inspiration, and with this energizing book David Sherwin provides plenty of ways to spark that next great idea. Creative Workshop gives you a toolbox of methods for everything from coming up with an idea to refining and executing it. Just like today's real world of design, the tools freely cross boundaries between graphic, product and interaction design. And because innovative ideas never happen in a vacuum, Sherwin gives each design challenge a clear goal, meaningful context, and some inspirational examples."
--Adam Richardson, Creative Director at frog design and author of Innovation X

About the Author

David Sherwin is an interaction designer and creative director with a depth of expertise in developing compelling solutions for challenging business problems. His first book was Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills (HOW Books).

David is currently an Interaction Design Director at frog, a global innovation firm, where he helps to guide the research, strategy and design of novel products and services for some of today's leading companies and nonprofit organizations. He is also a senior lecturer in the BFA in Interaction Design program at California College of the Arts. He has spoken and conducted workshops at events such as SxSW, Interaction 11, HOW Design Live, as well as at several design schools around the world. His writing has appeared in Smashing Magazine,, A List Apart,, HOW and many other periodicals.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, the poet and writer Mary Paynter Sherwin. In his free time, he maintains the blog ChangeOrder at

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 131 people found the following review helpfulBy Scott Berkun on January 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've been around for awhile, and have stacks of books claiming to spark design skills and creative thinking. Most end up in the back corner of the shelf, never living up to their promise. I'm impressed, and happy to say this book is a different breed.

1) It's a beautiful book. There is design love and care on every page.
2) It's designed for reading and use. It's not a coffee-table book or pretty play thing.
3) There's a free teacher's guide, [...] to help instructors and managers use the book.
4) The inspirations aren't just in the book's design (a common failing in design books), but the stories, and challenging exercises even experienced designers can benefit from. It's an easy book to use for team challenges, offsites and to teach old dogs some new things.
5) It includes exercises from a wide range of kinds of design, which is fun and challenging. Some are print based, others are interactive, or involve urban wayfinding, advertising, web apps, dishware, clothing, you name it. It fulfills the idea of forcing you to stretch your creative muscles.

Highly recommended for people who want to learn by making, and who have some design experience but want to grow and stretch their creative abilities.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpfulBy Jonellys on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book its simply amazing! It is well written and the instructions are clear for every workshop. It gives you examples to compare what you have done and to improve. It also let you choose what tools or materials to use for your designs, in my case I used Illustrator and Photoshop but the instructions are so simple you can even use paper and crayons!! And above all this, the challenges are actually fun to do! :D
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpfulBy BDouglas on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a graphic design student and I recently gave this as a gift to a friend of mine who is graduating. She almost didn't get it because I wanted to keep it for myself! Very cool book, lots of fun ways to get your creative juices flowing. I'd highly recommend it for other graphic designers.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpfulBy Laura Cannings on August 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have found this book to be an inspiration both in terms of idea generation and design output. This book would be invaluable to a studio wishing to experiment with design ideas to showcase their clients. I intend to work through these challenges and am confident my design and thought process will improve beacuse of it!


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