What began as a fun, personal project for Shay Harbaugh, Junior Art Director at Veugeler Design Group in Buford, turned into something much bigger when it was noticed by international, multi-billion dollar company 3M and their brand, Post-it.
How a fun project turned into a 100-Day Challenge
For three months, Shay Harbaugh challenged herself and her creativity. From November 2015 to February 2016, she gave herself a personal commitment to draw, hand letter, doodle or scribble every day, for 100 days, on a Post-it note. Designed to help exercise her creative juices, while limiting herself to a very small canvas, the “100 Day Post-it Challenge” was born.
Shay was in a creative slump, something all artists go through at some time in their career. She knew she needed something to overcome her creative block and looked to other designers and artists for inspiration. “I have a lot of friends in the design industry that have set similar goals for themselves” Shay said, “but it takes a lot of discipline to complete a challenge like this.” She decided to take on a project that would force her to hold herself accountable. But, when her personal project was picked up and shared on social media by Post-it themselves, she had the opportunity to inspire many others in the design industry aside from just herself.
The Post-it challenge came to Shay from a set of dog-shaped sticky notes given to her as a gift. Since creativity can come from anywhere, this sparked an imaginative chord in Shay who has a special place in her heart for dogs, especially rescue dogs. She thought the Post-it would be a good canvas at only 3” x 3”. Since it has a consistent size and weight, the only thing that would change is the color of the paper and the medium for the design. She had played around with the idea for a while, but was hesitant to commit to it. “I was nervous to hold myself accountable,” Shay admitted. In hindsight, she is glad she did it, since it has helped with her creativity and has made her a more aware of sights, sounds and what people are saying and doing around her.
Shay based her daily designs on something that intrigued, inspired or stood-out to her during the day. Sometimes the theme helped pick the color of the Post-it and sometimes the color inspired the theme. Her designs were spontaneous, not planned. “It helped with my perception of things and really opened my eyes to the world around me,” Shay said. “My designs would be anything from a simple quote to something I had been thinking about throughout the day,” she continued.
Shay posted her daily designs on her Instagram account and on Day #56, Post-it and 3M liked her photo and asked for her address so they could “fuel her creativity.” Post-it went on to send her a personalized package of Post-it notes, with limited edition colors and collections. The excitement of being picked up by Post-it only inspired her more. Shay said, “It speaks volumes when a company like 3M and Post-it support art and creativity.”
Some of Shay’s favorite designs are Day 32 “The Death Star” inspired by Star Wars, “The Force Awakes,” Day 16 “Gre-nut” since she is highly allergic to peanuts and Day 61 “Intro Song” since she (half-jokingly) wants her own theme song for when she walks into a room. Shay has experimented with different pens, paints and markers, from glow-in-the-dark to Liquid Pearls. Her personal collection of Post-it expands to over 25 different colors. Each of her designs can take up to 45 minutes to complete. She has drawn through the holidays, into a new year, in the car, on vacation and even when sick.
As her “100 Day Post-it Challenge” came to a close, Shay reflected that it definitely served its purpose of getting her back into drawing and helping with her creative block. “I’ve really seen a progression in my work,” said Shay, “It’s something that I look forward to daily.” Shay said she hopes to inspire others through this process. “If you set a goal and put your mind to it, it’s pretty amazing what can happen….you might even surprise yourself with the outcome,” she said.“