How Self-Inspired Artwork Wins Clients & Boosts Creativity

How Self-Inspired Artwork Wins Clients & Boosts Creativity

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Self Inspired Artwork

Showcasing your vast creativity, boundless ideas and unique style is the key to winning new clients. Self initiated work is a critical element of any effective portfolio and it’ll help you win the jobs you want and boost your creativity at the same time.

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This was the opening paragraph of the article “Build A Better Portfolio” in the latest addition (Issue 151) of Computer Arts magazine and I couldn’t agree more. I have realised that many of my self initiated projects I have enjoyed the most. You are not tied down by deadlines or a brief and because of this you really do get a chance to experiment with creative freedom.

Use of personal projects will not only show your own range of technical skills, it may even inspire your clients. If the stuff you really love doing is in there, then you have more chance of getting paid for that type of work. For example, when I added my vodka bottle design to my portfolio, I had 3 proposals within a month in regards to designing packaging for vodka.

Below you can see some of my self initiated designs (starting with type experiments) that I have done for fun over the past year however I really wish that I had done more (and with more time put into each one) and it is my goal to do more from now on.

Have you got any time put aside to work on your own personal projects?


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Experimentation with vectors and rasters. It is me on the left and a friend.


This is Excelsiorbot, inspired by Helbotica.


Just a bit of fun photo manipulation.


An illustration I did for the Save The Earth campaign.

Experimentation with layers and blending styles.

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A bit more on the crazy side. Rubber bands and glue.


Anyway, hope this inspires you to do a bit more self-inspired artwork! I know that I am going to be doing more of it and with more effort put into each one.

14 thoughts on “How Self-Inspired Artwork Wins Clients & Boosts Creativity”

  1. Very cool Jacob. I used to have time for personal projects and fun inspirational stuff like this, but unfortunately bill paying and my career got in the way…

    I have found that after college, I just don’t have the time to work on my own stuff. If I have a notepad and pencil out, I need to sketch client logos rather than fun ideas floating around in my head…

    It is unfortunate in some ways, as I agree with you that this type of experimentation can definitely develop a designer into a better one, and provide continued inspiration.

    Brian Yerkess last blog post..My Trip – Ireland / Italy and some graphic design

  2. Much like Brian, I’ve little time for my own experimental projects (something I miss from college days). Whenever I go on holiday, or take a break, there’s always a sketch pad at hand to keep the creative juices flowing.

    David Aireys last blog post..When logos look alike

  3. Yeah, I’ve always done this. In fact, a couple of my recent blog posts I talked about this very thing. It has never won me any clients, but it keeps me happy and motivated.

  4. Thanks for this post, unfortunately my newsagent has not got this issue in stock yet, they’re still carrying issue 149. I’ve got a few diaries, filled with sketches & ideas, though a I never get around to completing the works. Life and work gets in the way, though it could just be procrastination and just wanting to chill after work. It’s been a year since I’ve been out of uni and in my first job as a graphic designer though the work I do is very standard. The point I’m trying to make/ask is it wrong to put some of my uni work in as part of my portfolio?

  5. Brian,
    Yeah it is hard finding time for personal projects… these ones that I have put above are really quick ones, not really worthy of being in my portfolio. I think we all should put more time away for bigger and more worthy projects (if it were that easy).

    Good to hear that you have always done it… the article in the magazine really emphasised how important it is to have personal projects when applying for jobs so it is something quite valuable especially for new graduates.

    I saw your article in that magazine – your first magazine experience, well done and yes, being in collage is a big advantage… you have a bit more time!

    I am actually subscribed to the mag so they send it out once it has been printed which is pretty neat (it’s not even August yet). I don’t believe having uni work in your portfolio is bad… if it is worthy, it most definitely should go in.

  6. Great to see your personal projects, thanks for sharing!

    I agree that self inspired artwork definitely increases creativity. However like everyone else having time for it is another thing. I have previously said that I need an extra day in the week for blogging and now reading this post I need another one for personal projects too! You have certainly inspired me to try and make time!

  7. Great idea with the self-inspired work! Including paintings with my design portfolio to show that the computer is just a tool has really worked. Telling people about composition and color with that frame of reference makes them look at design in a different way. With my style of doing things, the two have some correlation

    It’s really helped to close the gap between being an more traditional artist and a graphic designer. More and more I find myself doing design work I like to do.

    In the day job as a publications designer, submitting illustrations and funkier digital designs and avoiding corporate cliches has been a hit. Now the requests come in to do magazine illustrations, covers and all kinds of fun graphics.

    When its time to work on the more structured projects, recent personal projects often inspire a different direction than if only doing client work



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