Sprint Stories

Keep moving, you'll be surprised

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Jolinda Smithson's Sprinter Story

I love the idea of connecting with people to help spark creativity.

I connected with other Sprinters through the hashtags and got to see lots of cool work at the same time. It was a great little inspiration boost each day.

One new thing I did during my Creative Sprint was to use my stylus on my phone to complete a lot of the daily challenges so that I wasn't getting caught up on doing something too intense. That simple limitation of using what I had at my fingertips helped me complete so many of them without getting too perfectionist about it. I'd love to set some limitations on myself for future projects with the expectation it doesn't have to be perfect right away so that I just get in the habit of making without judging.

One piece of advice I’d give to someone who is starting their first Creative Sprint is to just do it! Everyone in the Creative Sprint community is so supportive and if you keep moving, you'd be surprised at what cool things come out without letting yourself get caught up in how good it looks.

Since Creative Sprint, I have become more productive in other areas of my life - in small ways - trying to move things forward without the idea of perfectionism. It's also inspired me to make more necklaces, a hobby of mine, and to get back into my art studio to make things in real life.

To see more of Jolinda's work, check out her Instagram

Sign up here to download a FREE Sprint To-Go game you can use to jumpstart creativity right now! 


Creativity, A Dish Best Shared

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No One Is an Island  

I lead a team of designers and copywriters who produce all kinds of materials for our brand. When something customer-facing goes out, it’s likely we’ve already had our hands (or pens) on it. Yet, despite knowing our work, few know us as individuals.

That’s because, generally speaking, the workplace praises productivity over creativity. There are deadlines to meet, stakeholders to please. The emphasis is on deliverables—that’s just the fast-paced nature of business.

As a Creative in a large organization, your time is allocated to various projects before you can even blink. Along the workflow pipeline, requests come in, creative assets are magically pumped out, and the work day moves on. The Creative becomes almost invisible, bogged down in day-to-day production work.

But Creatives aren’t mystical beings and creative assets don’t grow on trees. With that in mind, I wanted to put a spotlight on my Creative Team and show off our skills a little with something that said “Hey, we’re still here! We put a lot of thought and care into our creative work and we’re excited to share. Let’s work together!” I also wanted something that could help bond our team and encourage others to interact with us.

Enter Creative Sprint.

Creativity is Contagious

The October Creative Sprint was the perfect opportunity for my team and I to flex our chops and do something enjoyable together. It would provide a breather from the workweek and give us something to think about, work on, and discuss.

So, we went for it. We commandeered some wall space and decided to post all our work on a giant whiteboard—in full view of everyone on the floor. Now, eyes can’t help but be drawn to our board. People stop and ask questions. Other people jump in to answer. Conversations are started, connections are made. Our motley little wall has become so much more.

To make it easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it), I added another caveat: all submissions had to be created from or incorporate a Post-it note.

This additional condition added a twist to our game, while simultaneously evening the playing field. By stipulating the use of sticky notes, we ensured that a) 30 days of submissions would fit on our board and that b) all submissions could be easily created from common office materials—meaning no excuses!

The Post-It rule has worked out well. The physical work of producing itsy-bitsy creations has been fun, while the exercise of “thinking in miniature” has been a uniquely challenging one. Plus, in a digital company, we’ve finally managed to find a use for all those office sticky notes, so it’s been a win-win!

The More You Use, The More You Have

Overall, creating for oneself, creating for just for the sake of creating, without the need for perfection, has been something incredible. It’s freeing. And it’s something that, unfortunately, most professional creatives don’t get the chance to do in the workplace.

But our Creative Sprint isn’t just about us. I’m out to prove a point. That point is that creativity isn’t some mystical talent reserved for a certain subset of the population—it’s a skill that can be practiced, a habit that can be established. Most importantly, the point is that creativity is not a skill; it’s a perspective. And by changing your perspective, you can accomplish anything.


Tina Caye

Creative Director, Brand

Small Business Bank Capital One

Sign up here to download a FREE Sprint To-Go game you can use to jumpstart creativity right now! 

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I Need to Create. Daily. Period.

Michele Ports Gargiulo's Sprinter Story

I decided to take part in Creative Sprint when a artist and gallery owner friend posted about it. Sounded fun and I had never done anything like this before!

My favorite days were the use something sticky, spirit animal, and recreate a favorite piece of art.

The most challenging day was the collaboration day, because I worked and couldn't get to it until late, so I used my one dogs as my Sprint collaboration partner.

The most surprising thing was to be featured on the Creative Sprint Instagram. It was really motivating and exciting!!

The thing I did that I'll continue to do is draw everyday, sometimes I would be 'too busy', but I am a artist. I need to create. Daily. Period.

I would tell whoever wants to complete a Creative Sprint to dive in! Have fun! Try new things!

I think the Sprint definitely freed me up somewhat; and to get feedback (and likes!) from other artists was just the best. I feel more confident with my art- so thank you for that!

See more of Michele's work on Instagram

Make some stuff you're proud of in just one day.

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Carrie Donovan's Sprinter Story

I went to a talk by Noah Scalin at Louisville, KY's AIGA chapter in March, and heard him talk about Creative Sprint and encourage people to sign up on the website. I signed up thinking that I might as well get the emails, but I really wasn't sure that I'd do it. I started with Day 1, again, not sure I'd keep up with it. But I'm so glad I did! I got hooked.

I think the first day was my favorite, because I had this rush of "oh wow! I just made something!" I didn't spend a lot of time on that day's project, and it was really satisfying. (I later ended up spending much longer on future days, which was also good, but very different).

Day 23 (Make something inspired by all the places your shoes have been) was a challenge because I got stuck. I didn't have a good idea, and I'd been a little behind on the prompts for a couple of days. Finally I ended up making some typography out of Legos (inspired by the experience of stepping on Legos—ouch!). The end result ended up being one of my favorite things I made during Creative Sprint.

I got to collaborate with Mica Scalin, who wrote the book on Creative Sprint! Honestly, I hesitated a little bit to reach out to her because she helped start the whole thing! But she responded yes! And wanted to collaborate with me on Day 28. I've learned this many times in life, and I learned it again—it never hurts to ask.

I have been wanting to experiment with motion graphics, and I was able to try a few simple projects in AfterEffects as well as some stop motion animation projects. That is something I want to keep doing. I also started a map project based on the Washington, D.C. area where I grew up (on Day 15) that I intend to continue.

As an artist or designer, you already know how to make good work.  But you might be surprised that you can actually make some stuff you're proud of in just one day.

I do continue to feel inspired and confident knowing that making things isn't as hard as I sometimes make it out to be.

Find more of her work on Instagram.

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