Commitments are like typographic grids
I’ve been doing an illustration challenge with a friend for about a month now. The commitment: to both make an illustration every day, based on a website-generated topic. After a while, we loosened the rules a bit, to keep it interesting and to try to steer the illustrations towards writing.
Thinking with Type says the following about grids:
a grid breaks space or time into regular units. A grid can be simple or complex, specific or generic, tightly defined or loosely interpreted. [Typographic] grids are all about control.
…And includes a quote from Karl Gerstner:
The typographic grid is a proportional regulator for composition, tables, pictures, etc …. The difficulty is: to find the balance, the maximum of conformity to a rule with the maximum of freedom. Or: the maximum of constants with the greatest possible variability.
This reminds me of commitments like our current challenge:
it is similarly a means to gain control over my learning process, by removing some of the daily doubts and decision making about what to create/learn
there is a similar tradeoff between ensuring consistent progress and adapting to the daily variations in inspiration, mood, and other circumstances of life.
Too loose, and I find myself either split between the many ideas I could be executing that day, or simply making not much at all.
Too strict, and making becomes painful and boring, and grinding rarely works as well as enthusiasm in design. It could also mean opportunity cost, when inspiration strikes elsewhere. I might just abandon it.
So, that’s a nuance I’m still seeking.