Design Exercises Weekly

Artwork by Missy Meyer


/‘wiːkli/ /‘dɪˈzʌɪn/ /‘ɛksəsʌɪz/ | nounnoun: weekly design exercise; plural noun: weekly design exercises

1.Activity requiring physical effort occurring once a week, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness of your freakin’ mind.

E.“Weekly Design Exercise improves your Adobe skills and design power”

Feel free to jump into our weekly design brief and produce a mini design project. They are completely free. No catch! These exercises are The Graphic Design School’s contribution to the continuum of the design education of our design graduates, students and the design world at large. Gosh darn that’s nice of us!

Who is this for?

Whether you are a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced level designer. There is a brief to suit you. Follow the instructions in the brief to the letter.

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Once your done upload your image to share. We may upload your image to our new Instagram page, be sure to include your Insta handle (@username) so we can credit you. If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can just type in your name. Leave your details blank if you like.

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Please make sure your image is of good resolution, it shouldn’t exceed more than 5mb or thereabouts. png, jpeg, svg all acceptable formats. By uploading your image you are giving us permission to publish it.

Can I subscribe to this awesome concept?

If you would like to receive an email from us each week with the brief and video. Be sure to subscribe at the top right of this page. We won’t share your information or be spammy.

What if I want to go further?

If you love what we do, and think you would like to try your hand at becoming a designer. Check out our courses here.

Can I contribute?

If you would like to become a regular video contributor, let us know. Even though we offer them for free, we pay contributors. Or if there is a technique that you would really like to learn, email us a visual, and any ideas you may have.

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Week 40 Create your own neon flex Christmas lights sign or design your own for your wall!

This Christmas we decided to go analogue and create a Christmas sign that could be used in our street Christmas lights as a family fun Instagram moment.

instagram Icon
Public Image for Dex 40
Public Image for Dex 40
Public Image for Dex 40
Public Image for Dex 40
Public Image for Dex 40
Public Image for Dex 40
Public Image for Dex 40

Design Brief: Below is an equipment list of all the things we used in order to make our sign. We also used Illustrator a bit (couldn't help ourselves). We would love to see yours, please feel free to share in our upload bar above.


Hardware Store

  • Waterproofing Paint (pond or bathroom)
  • Timber that can be used outside - We used Yellow Tongue Flooring
  • An Electric Drill & Bugle Screws
  • White Outdoor Paint
  • Coloured Paint, the same as the Neon

Electronic Store

  • 12V Wire, x 2 in 2 different colours as long as your Neon
  • 2 Alligator Clips
  • 4 x Male & Female Power Adapters (get a few spare)
  • Wire Cutters (to strip the wire)
  • Clippers (to cut the neon)


  • Neon Flex Tube
  • End Caps 1/2 with 2 holes, 1/2 with no holes (get more than you think you need)
  • 12V Transformer, we needed a 10Amp for 20m of Neon
  • Soldering Wire
  • Clips, to be hammered in
  • Copper Tape
  • Soldering Iron, spend a little bit extra to get one with an adjustable temperature
  • Magnifying Glass with clips & Soldering Iron holder


Special thanks to E Jammy Jams for their swingin' Christmas tunes!

Previous Weeks

Click on the images to go to the full brief pages

Week 39


Create promotion and brand materials with your own optical art design piece in Adobe Illustrator

Design Brief: Create a piece of op-artsy (optical art) in Illustrator. Then put that piece to work and use it to create an amazing line of promotion materials for an event or campaign of your choice.

Week 38


Create a beautiful image design by merging two images seamlessly together in Photoshop

Design Brief: Using the layers panel in Photoshop and two separate photographs, manipulate the edges together into one creative design.

Week 37


Create your own kaleidoscope print in Photoshop

Design Brief: Using the layers panel in Photoshop to create your own kaleidoscopic print!

Week 36


Create a live animation for handwritten text in Adobe After Effects

Design Brief: Make a short animation in AE that looks as if you are writing a word (of your choice) on the spot. It's even better if you can use your very own handwriting!

Week 35


Create an animated pattern of your logo in Adobe After Effects

Design Brief: Yay, you just finished a new logo or a great new icon and you want to show it to the world! Let’s give it some extra love and create an animated pattern with it. This tutorial will focus on animation in AE, so use a logo (or an icon) you already designed. If you do not have a suitable logo or icon… maybe you can first create a logo for an imaginary project or just try to animate a shape or line.

Week 34


Textile Design - Part 2 Creating Print Textures

Design Brief: Draw two designs in illustrator that are a pattern of objects and can be layered.

Week 33


Get Started with a Basic Animation in After Effects

Design Brief: Create a short animation in which you animate text. Of course you can make up your own plan for the text.

Week 32


Textile Design - Part 1 Repeat Print

Design Brief: Create a repeat pattern in Illustrator using swatches

Week 31


Use the width tool to create your Own Curvy Letter

Design Brief: We are going to use and get familiar with the width tool while creating your own curvy letter with flowing smooth add-ons.

Week 30


Create a punchy typographic Xmas gif, then we show you how to embed in your email signature!

Design Brief: Create 3-7 quick beautiful typographic systems (we chose a Xmas theme because it's that time of year) you can chose any theme. We show you how to host the gif online and how to html embed in your email signature for the world to see. You can also use this gif for any manner of designs or email content. Below this brief we give you a simple step by step guide on how to install your gif in Gmail.

Week 29


Using Adobe Dimension & Photoshop To Create Striking Packaging

Design Brief: Create a colour-stream background using an image in Photoshop, apply it to packaging in Illustrator and then create a 3D mock-up of your packaging in Adobe Dimesion.

Week 28


Draw & Apply your Own One-Line Art to a Mockup

Design Brief: Draw something in 1 continuous line and apply it to a packaging or poster mockup. Believe it or not, continuous line drawing is an art movement (we will show you more examples in the video). You can draw anything, an object, person, animal, plant, anything your heart desires. The catch is the image must be easily recognisable.

Week 27


Social Media Series: Learn to shoot, style and edit an image for your social media channels

Design Brief: As a designer it's important we harness social media as one platform to showcase our work and the work of our clients. Use your iPhone and capture a beautifully styled vignette in a pastel tone to fit into a similar branding system. Edit your image and take it all the way to your own social channel.

Week 26


Social Media Series: Absolute Beginners Design & Present an Instagram Mockup

Design Brief: Want to showcase your work in a professional and realistic way? Mockups are easy to use and there are so many available, both free and paid. Be sure to always find a mockup that suits your final project. Can’t find the perfect mock for your design? Find an image (make sure you check the licensing) or use your own to get started with your own mock.

Week 25


Create a World Cup animated gif in Photoshop to promote your event

Design Brief: Create a World Cup gif in Photoshop using layers, add your branding to the image, and animate them to life!

Week 24


Create a Seamless Pattern in Photoshop and Apply it to Your Mockups - Part 2

Design Brief: Transform photographic images into engraved illustrations to use as part of an identity design. These images will also be used in DEX Week 26 as part of an identity system and pattern.

Week 23


Create an Identity Using Engraved Effect on Images - Part 1

Design Brief: Use the images created in DEX 23 (or source other design elements) or images, and create a seamless wallpaper pattern to be used on branding elements.

Week 22


Create a website prototype in Adobe XD - Part 2

Design Brief: Create a full website design using Adobe XD - learn how to use the assets and share a link to a prototype website that will function within a browser.

Week 21


Add contrasting light effects to a photographic image - Part 1

Design Brief: Create a colour light effect on a Photoshop image to replicate the effect achieved by photographers using colour gels on lenses during a photoshoot.

Week 20


Create Wonderful Waves with the Twirl Tool

Design Brief: Create a look that resembles a wave in type and choose a word or sentence/message that fits (or, also fun… totally contrasts) this look. In the example, the word ‘endless’ is used; as ocean waves just keep coming… endlessly. But feel free to choose a different word or message.

Week 19


Create a Dripping Text Effect in Illustrator

Design Brief: Design a look that resembles something that is dripping or melting.

Week 18


Create a live animation for handwritten text in Adobe After Effects

Design Brief: Create 3D artwork using Illustrator Blends.

Week 17


Create a Band Artwork using Photoshop Liquify Tool

Design Brief: Create a liquified image for a music band to be applied to a vinyl record sleeve mockup and Spotify application.

Week 16


The Best Illustrator Brushes Tutorial Ever

Design Brief: Use Illustrator to create your own brushes, we will look at both the art brushes and the scatter brushes. Experiment with the various options.

Week 15


Create a Retro Style Surf Poster

Design Brief: Make a short animation in AE that looks as if you are writing a word (of your choice) on the spot. It's even better if you can use your very own handwriting!

Week 14


Create a Corny Holiday Sweater Knit Animated GIF

Design Brief: Create a knitted typographic message in Illustrator and animate in Photoshop.

Week 13


Use Adobe Dimension to create a Perfect Packaging Showcase

Design Brief: Create a realistic 3D mockup with a scene/background using Adobe Dimension.

Week 12


Create Surreal Compositions in Photoshop

Design Brief: Creating a striking and unexpected Photoshop composition through the juxtaposition of a food and human/animal element.

Week 11


Create an Asian-inspired vintage style poster/postcard and ink-effect logo

Design Brief: Create an Asian-inspired Poster or Postcard using techniques to make a modern image look vintage using hand tints and use brushes to give it texture. Add a logo to the poster/postcard and make a modern logo look hand-printed in ink.

Week 10


Create Patterns with Photoshop, Pattern Bombing, Apply Patterns to Mockups

Design Brief: Create and define a pattern in Photoshop and apply it to a mockup or design in Photoshop. Create at least 3 colour variants of your pattern.

Week 9


Layered Effect With Illustrator & Photoshop

Design Brief: Create a layered effect and sense of depth using a Photoshop element that overlaps and goes behind the same Illustrator typographic element.

Week 8


Gold Typography in Illustrator

Design Brief: Create a gold foil or glitter finish to type or a logo on a textured background.

Week 7


Stamp Tool & Clipping Mask in Photoshop

Design Brief: Design your own unique mockup from scratch in Photoshop, with the stamp tool and clipping mask.

Week 6


Envelope Distort in Illustrator

Design Brief: Design a word or logo in Ai, using the 'envelope distort' effect.

Week 5


Paper 3D Collage

Design Brief: Develop a poster or past card, with a visual that looks like a 3D cut and paste paper collage.

Week 4


Create a Mosaic of Beautiful Polygons

Design Brief: Make a photo of your fave food for break or lunch. Take it into Ai and turn it into a polygonal vector image.

Week 3


Create Your Own Mockup

Design Brief: Pick one of your designs that you are very proud of/love and create a mockup to present your design 'to the world'. There's many mockups available online (free and paid), try to find one that matches your work and really gives it the credit it deserves.

Week 2


Head Icons Design

Design Brief: Design a flat icon in Ai with a long shadow and a paper cut-out look.

Week 1


Hand Lettering in a Shape

Design Brief: Type becomes an image in this DEX. Draw an animal or object (we did a furry bunny for Easter) and find a nice quote that fits the shape.

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