Personal Side Projects…

I am researching side projects for an upcoming talk and was wondering if you can think of any personal side projects of fellow designers and developers that I might forget:

I am thinking of projects like my CreativeMornings or Teuxdeux. Then there’s Coudal’s The Deck, JewelBoxing and Fieldnotes. And then there’s Frank Chimero’s The Shape of Design, or Jessica Hische’s Daily Dropcap, Squared Eye’s Patterntap and so on.

What side projects would you add to the list?

113 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Oh, I just thought of more:


    Authenticjobs (was originally a side project)

  2. I’m pretty sure 30DAYSOFBIKING is a side project.

  3. I just recently learned about this great project by Aymie Spitzer:

    Letter March

  4. If you will accept the “to be launched in the next few weeks”, I’ll add Paper Doll Pinups ( to your queue.

    Paper Doll Pinups is a burlesque & vaudeville stationery & paper goods company. It’ll sell everything from notebooks to posters, stationery for love (and hate) notes to book marks, pens, greeting cards, etc.

    I’m a storyteller first, designer second, so the branding of the company has given rise to a quasi-fictional town, Peyroux. Various collections within Paper Doll will be based on characters and businesses in Peyroux.

    The transition from start to current is:
    1. “Oh this would be cool.”
    2. “And could give us an opportunity to really experiment.”
    3. “Huh, getting a little atten–”
    4. “–oh holy crap.”
    5. “AHH!!!! WEEE!!!”

    The project has blossomed from a small idea to create a bit of mischief to the largest project I’ve ever attempted.

  5. Svpply and Lookwork and The Book Cover Archive

  6. The Curiosity Club is one of my favs.
    is one I attend regularly.

    I’ve been doing a series of “Boring conversations with interesting people” or “Pole Conversations” walking conversations with a camera attached to a pole (soon to be on a tandem bike) at

    There are so many side projects…

  7. My side projects… hope you like?


    NYC Type

  8. Side project by Floyd Hayes turning hilarious spam misspellings into buttons and pins:

  9. Teehan & Lax Design –

  10. Taking sketchnotes of basically every talk I attend:

    Not only seeing faces in things, but giving them a name and little tweetable story:

  11. My side projects:
    Photokapi –
    Photo a day project (currently at 400+ days)


    People Lipsum:
    An easy way to create name, address, phone number test data for a database, website etc.

  12. Some stuff I’m working on with Analog, Studiomates, or friends:

    PHP Advent (
    Brooklyn Beta (
    #grid (

    Other stuff I can think of:

    Lithium (
    24 Ways (
    Spaz (
    WonderProxy (
    New Adventures (
    Instapaper (
    CommandShift3 (
    Build (
    Webstock (
    The Manual (

    There’s lots more, but developers tend to release tools and libraries that aren’t really complete projects. Most open source software begins life this way, and the entire web stack of a lot of the biggest sites is open source software. (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc.)

  13. Ji Lee’s Bubble Project –

    He also gave a great talk on personal projects at the 99% conference –

  14. Method & Craft ( http://methodandcraft ) was just launched by Phil Coffman ( )

  15. A side project I launched a few weeks ago: On Your Way Here (

  16. My own Educate the Clients! ( would count.

  17. Project 10 – Not my project however I did contribute.
    Steve Price’s personal project to publish a newspaper for 10 months filled with ideas and work from leading creatives, peers and friends all over the world.

  18. Elevator View ( – architectural photos of NYC taken from above the street. @kirstenbutler called it, “a website celebrating urbanity and its elevated perches.” (!/kirstinbutler/status/37239914487611392)

  19. Here’s a couple:

    Neven Mrgan’s “The Incident” –
    Tim van Damme’s “The Box” –
    Andy McMillan’s “The Manual” –
    Sam Brown’s “Endorse” –

  20. Brian Singer and the 1000 Journals project?

  21. A side project at Ohio State:
    20UX. Twenty students. Twenty experiences.

  22. Notologist is a project where we leave notes around and see who writes us back.

  23. collaborative weekly conversations:

  24. We’ve been selling typography and design related t-shirts for several years now. “I like your type” and “I see the futura” are some of the examples.

  25. I believe that Stanley Hainsworth’s design studio has a cool little store and event space in the front.

  26. I recently started a poster project called FELT, minimalistic illustrations of Bible stories.

  27. In late 2009, Grant Hutchinson, Luke Dorny and Carolyn Wood and I started a little side project to create and curate a range of high-quality typographic products with a bit of an educational bent to them. It’s still a side project, but has taken off even more than I originally expected and has been featured on the FontFeed, Under Consideration’s FPO site and many, many others. You can take a peek at Ligature, Loop & Stem. For us, the best part is that we’re just getting warmed up and have some ambitious ideas in the works.

  28. I guess photography “side projects” are too far off the course? I’m a commercial photographer, but I’ve started a side project of portraits of offbeat/interesting characters in my town. I started a new domain for it, to keep it separate from my commerce site.

    Side Project:

  29. Some of my side projects: – interviews with musicians focusing on the tools that shape their sound – a collection of creative photos with refrigerators – documenting the inner lives of office fridges

  30. sounds like a non-sense question. would be interesting to see side project that designers do with a complete different scope or industry…
    for a designer everythign is a side project as long as it doesnt became a full time project…

  31. I have a personal travel based photography project >

    Hope you enjoy :)

  32. I’m not sure my side projects will fit perfectly in your list, however, here they are:

    Enjoy :)

  33. Designers: FL@33
    Run Stereohype and create wonderous books like their new one with Laurence King

  34. (a.k.a that you graciously profiled November 2009 was a side project – (My design firm is – and thanks to your posting it has shipped goods to customers in 29 countries thus far. All designers should consider projects where they design once, and sell the design (or object) multiple times.

  35. How about Lose It or Lose It? It’s been a labor of love for a couple years now and has helped me lose 80 lb!

  36. Designers: 2Creatives (

    We run Designers Against Human Rights Abuse (DAHRA)

  37. Hmm, I think someone could easily make a side project out of catalogging all these side projects, along with some personal stories of how they came about. This growing list right here in the comments shows all kinds of passion and personal commitment. I have enjoyed checking many of them out.

    But does the term “side project” even hold as much water as it used to? While for most people, it refers to a project you don’t get paid for but instead do out of a passion for your craft, there are plenty of side projects that generate income and opportunity usually associated with “primary” projects. Many folks I know could be described as working on a series of side projects, devoting time and resources to whatever project is on the front burner. Between consulting, freelancing, and bootstrapped startups, I’ve come to observe that the most productive and successful types don’t really see a “side”..rather, it’s all “primary”.

  38. I have you check out Drool Incorporated yet?

    I heard that it was a project by Kevin Amter, the creative director and author of Minds For Rent. I believe he’s fairly well known in the industry.

    He has a pretty cool logo for Drool Inc on his web site too.

    I follow his group Advertising Freelance on Linkedin.

    Hope that helps!


  39. Love Carolyn Sewell’s postcard series.

    Last year’s Postcards to my Parents:

    And she’s now compiling Postcards to my Peeps:

  40. The 12 FIFTY TWO Initiative:

  41. Method & Craft / http://methodandcraft / a side project between Phil Coffman and Noah Stokes.

  42. I started as a side project five years ago. Now trying to make it my full-time job.

  43. How about Mark Boulton Design’s Five Simple Steps – their book publishing venture?

  44. Eric Hoffman’s CSS3 generator is a brand new side project that’s way useful to any front end dev.

  45. Designspiration. Side project of Shelby White (Wanken) –

  46. is very much a side project, makes no income, is there for the pure love of making something people use. You featured it 2 years ago. :)

  47. Creative Everyone.

    —Side project by Dan and Mike,

  48. Didn’t dribbble start as a side project?


    Illustrated type collection, on-going side project type thing of mine…

    Just saying.

  50. My latest postcard endeavor:

    A yearlong project that finished up last year:

  51. Pecha Kucha is originally a side project of Klein Dytham in Toyko….
    and one of the furthers reaching ones I would dare to say!

  52. Hi Tina,
    This is our side project:
    A solution for the distribution of iphone applications for beta-testers and company.

  53. If you want current: The Chamomile Tea Party posters (bringing calm to American political discourse):

    Past projects:
    After last week’s Time magazine cover story on personal data I remembered a project I did on eBay in 1999: I auctioned off my personal demographics:

    My Tweet Tooth: After a twitter follow from an endodontist while I was waiting to be evaluated for a possible root canal I decided to tweet my dental procedure live to an audience of dentists from across North America –this project is rated G for those of you who blanch at the thought of any dental procedure).

  54. Magazine Covers Collection on . Hope you like it!

  55. my two sideprojects are:
    helping people in zurich to find an appartement, started as a free mailinglist in 2001/2 (cant remember the exact date) and was transformed into a mailinglist with a one-time subscriptionfee in 2006
    my childrens project, launched in 2004

  56. How about Etre’s ( gloves?


  57. RePrint by Glenn Garriock –

  58. The Santa Claw was an amazing example of collaboration to make something very REAL happen in a world where design is often very intangible. People all over the world use FB intergration to get “in line,” and hours later get to play a REAL, huge claw machine. And if they win a prize, THEY WIN A PRIZE! (I dreamed about it last night. For reals.)

  59. Broader URLs rather than shorter ones:

    “Embrace and propagate your convictions every time you send or publish a link. Because you don’t always need your short URLs tiny, but you want them to tell the world what you believe in.”

  60. Nicolas Felton has his always amazing Annual Reports that spawned his app. Daytum for tracking your data.

  61. @Eva

    I was just browsing your flickr set. Really great side project!

  62. We design and develop client sites. Then one day three years ago we made Doodlers Anonymous. Now we are over 3,000 members of the art community and just dd a great collaboration with Blik :)


  63. Just announced to the world last week – Bound Custom Journals: You pick the content (maps, lined/grid/blank paper, calendars, etc.), we make your personal custom journal.

    Right now, still just getting our prototypes sorted, but hope to begin shipping later this year.

  64. Obsessed about collecting old cameras, making camera related art and finding cool resources, inspiring photographers, and must-have cameras to share. (released all this needed a home of it’s own outside of my regular design work, so I started Cameraluv in 2008)

  65. This personal project helped me get a lot of work:
    Make Something Cool Every Day

  66. Your Business Card Sucks – (a blog about business cards)

  67. We are a design agency and we:
    run a graphic art gallery Ship of Fools

    A festival that celebrates typography

    A festival that celebrates analogue techniques

    And we sometimes publish out own designs

    Just for the fun of it! :)

  68. My main projects turned into side projects and my side projects turned into my main projects and then they all fed into teaching… It is all nebulous up in here and I love it.

    Daily Drawings:

    Other People’s Music:

  69. 10 ANSWERS serves up daily interviews with creative minds from around the globe.

  70. I am a designer and this is my side project…

  71. Hi Tina,

    I never would’ve imagined my side project Logo Design Love would turn into a book. There’s the slightly more recent Identity Designed, too, which is a pleasure editing.

    Good luck with the talk.

  72. What a great group of people and projects!

  73. Nate Burgos of sent me an amazing list of side project urls. Here you go:

    The Ladies of

    Thinking for a Living by Duane King, Shane Bzdok, Antonio Carusone, Frank Chimero, Ian Coyle »

    Design Facts by Shane Bzdok »

    Exhibit “Celebrate People’s History!” by The Groundswell Collective »

    Sheepless Nation! States of Independents Project Videos by Scott Ballum of Sheepless »

    4format and Vidque by Lukas Dryja, of Kolor and Form & Method, and Team »,

    Unify by Andy Rutledge and Team of Unit Interactive »

    Dribbble by Dan Cederholm of Simplebits, Rich Thornett with high-school phenom Bruce Spang »

    “The Personal Page” by Naz Hamid of Weightshift »

    Method & Craft by Phil Coffman, Noah Stokes, Trent Walton »

    Symbolicons by Jory Raphael of Sensible World »

    Cutsheet Project by Scout Regalia »

    Phoot Camp and Eat Retreat by Laura Brunow Miner of Pictory »,

    Colosseo Letterpress Poster by Cameron Moll »

    Fifty and Fifty by Dan Cassaro »

    The Case & Point by Abi Huynh, Grace Partridge and Ross Milne of Working Format »

    The Web Therapist by Lizy Travis of ScribbleTone »

    Former Kickstarter Project “Cadence & Slang”, a “small book about interaction design”, by Nick Disabato »

    Web Development Project Estimator by Matt Everson of Astuteo »

    Web and Podcasts by Dan Benjamin of 5by5 Studios which started as a Side Project »

    Camp Firebelly and other Endeavors by Firebelly Design »

    New Ketubah: “Handcrafted Modern Ketubah Design” by Tsilli Pines »

    Type Union by Garret Voorhees and Andrew Lakata » via @Reserves

    Daring Fireball, which started as a side project, and other Projects by John Gruber »,

  74. Wow, these are definite inspiration to keep working on side projects!

    I’m doing, a directory of the yoga etc in NYC. is a side project, right?

    And there are a lot of iPhone Apps: Exit Strategy, NYC Way, Trees NY… Does it only count if you have a full time job, or don’t make a living?

  75. Ligature, Loop and Stem is a beloved side project for me, (along with Scott Boms, Luke Dorny, and Grant Hutchinson.) I started a magazine called The Manual with Andy McMillan.

    It may turn out to eventually be more than a side project, but I’m working with John Boardley of to start a journal of typography called Codex. We’re deep in it now, and it will be about 8”x11″ and around 144 pages, so quite sizable. It keeps inching over from its place on the side. :)

    Actually, working as Acquisitions Editor at A List Apart is a side project for me, rather than being my job. We’re a pretty passionate group there and it has been going for so long (long before I arrived there 3 years ago) that most people probably don’t even consider that for many of us, it’s “a side project.” What do you call a “side project” that has become an institution of sorts?

    I have a few others in the planning stages, but that’s the thing about side projects: they often start out as a dream. You’ll find out along the way if the community loves it and supports it and it becomes more than a side project, or if you’ll continue to love it even if only some other people do, or even if you’ll really sit down and do the work and make it happen. Then there are the lists of “someday projects” that suddenly turn into “todays.” Sometimes all you really need, aside from that inner drive and love, is someone else to come along who has the talents you don’t, and suddenly you’re in the thick of it, instead of just peeking, every once in a while, at scribbles on a piece of paper.

    I look at “side projects” and see a lot of what I’d call “love” propelling many of them.

    Now I’ll have to set aside time this week to investigate everything I see on this wonderful list that’s new to me.

  76. my Culinaesthete (new magazine of stories + food) launches next week and is a side project:

  77. My favorite designer and friend Jarrett Green turned his need for researching the obscure into a informative and fun project.
    Plus his illustrations are the best.

  78. “Petali Rossi” is a project aimed at promoting the protection of human rights, dialogue and experience sharing.

    with this projec we collect photos from all the people sensitive to human right
    Wherever you are look at posters, placards, flash-mobs, wall posters and everything that happens in order to defend human rights. Take a picture and send it
    The Red Petals are women. They are teachers, doctors, journalists, NGO workers, educators, cultural mediators, nurses, midwives, volunteers, lawyers…Whatever their job, they all have one thing in common: they work to protect the rights of both children and adults, in Italy and abroad.

  79. Noah Scalin: Has alot of side projects one of his most successful projects was creating a skull a day for a year.

  80. Another side project submission by Nate Burgos:

    PicoCool and eHub by Emily Chang of Ideacodes »,

    Open-Source Food-Activism Project “Replate” by Josh Kamler and Axel Albin of Language in Common »

    “Plus63: A Collection of Filipino Creativity” by Dan Matutina »

  81. Travis Kochel’s opentype project Chartwell:

  82. I guess is a side project, though it’s central to my heart.

    Incredible forum and posts here, filled with talent and ingenuity.
    You sparkle TRE!

  83. A project that is being working on by a design/illustrator combo is:

    Magic Rush (

    A planned iphone game with a lot of focus on artistic style as well as functional design. There is going to be more details on the site by end of month.

  84. My side project became a full fledged brand and lapped my day job in enjoyment and profit within 2 years.

  85. I started this side project initiative here:
    We have about 47 folks participating – each with their own side project and most with a blog to follow progress.

    My own side project is here:
    100 days of bad thoughts, each countered by an opposite positive thought.

  86. Can I remind Noun Project by Simple Honest Work.

  87. My personal side project,

    Ive worked in the surf/lifestyle industry for a long time now and really thought that the art side of surfboard design was good but boring, and needed new fresh ideas, so I built a site and concept around that. Its just beginning, but there is a list of international artists joining over the next few months and exhibitions later in the year.

  88. Have you seen this: – it’s Viget’s side-project site.

  89. Unp3 Project: Mp3 players in Wood and from Rapid-prototyping material:

    Spaces for Ideas: Expandable Sketchbook:

  90. This is an archive of logo designs in Turkey that has been collected over a long period of time. Most of the brands are Turkish but there are foreign brands as well.

  91. The Late Shift:

    A blog started by two design students in Grand Rapids, MI for classmates to share work created for fun.

  92. Since we’re at the 10th anniversary of 9/11 another side project I did came out of that day. I created “Dichotomy: It Was a Matter of Time and Place, a 9/11 Storytelling Project”

    On 9/11 I was working right across the street from the White House. I realized that vantage point affected how we experienced that day. So I’ve been collecting stories from 9/11 from two points of view: Participants: those who were in NYC, DC, on planes, or who had loved ones or friends directly involved and Witnesses, those who lived elsewhere and experienced the day via the media.

    Two stories from each category are juxtaposed next to each other, emphasizing these different vantage points. There are some amazing accounts on the site and I’m still accepting stories if you’re willing.

  93. One of my side projects was intense research on forgotten Jewish author Dr. Fritz Kahn, a kind of visual archaeology – which ended up in a coffeetable book by my sister and myself. I just gave a lecture on this side project at Pratt in September:

    Check out the first review on our book by Steven Heller:

    This was the most important and passionate side projects ever in my career as graphic designer, on the professional as well as on the personal level.

    By the way: Great talk at Typo St. Gallen, Tina!
    – Thilo

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