Challenge for a Broke Designer

Where I’m At

Being a college student while having a minimum wage job can be financially stressful. I read somewhere that people aren’t supposed to have only one source of income. So, I’ve tried to think of ways to make money on the side.

As a designer I’ve tried to start freelancing. I’ve had a few gigs years ago where friends needed logos. I actually made a quick one two weeks ago for my friend’s Youtube channel. Maybe I should’ve charged him.

Anyway, freelancing is a viable option if I can get more gigs. In the meantime I’ll need a different source of chump change.

The Noun Project

Last semester my design teacher introduced the class to a pretty cool website for designers, The Noun Project. This website basically has icons for every noun you can think of. Allegedly.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 10.59.50 PM

How it works

So anyone can make an account. Anyone can search and download icons. Some icons are free, and others cost a few cents.

Here’s the first cool part: anyone (I say that loosely) can design their own icon and upload it to the site to be downloaded for free or for a price.

Second cool part: the designer of the icon gets a percentage of the royalties every time someone downloads their priced icon!

Our teacher showed us her account and she says she designs a few icons every so often and uploads them for a price. And every month the site pays her about $20 for her share of download royalty fees.

The Easiness of It and a Challenge

I uploaded one icon last semester, for free, just to see how it worked. As you can see in the image, people actually downloaded it. Every week there’s about three or four downloads. Imagine if I priced it.

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 11.18.09 PM

As a designer, this is pretty cool. Icons aren’t very difficult to design when you have experience and the right programs.

So I’ve decided to challenge myself — every day I will upload an icon to the site with the fee.

Will it make me money? I’m not entirely sure. But even if I don’t make money, the challenge will help me flex my design muscles and have me come up with content constantly. Constant cont is good for filling a portfolio or inspiring another project.

I’ll even dedicate a page on my blog for the icons I upload.

A Hopeful Beginning



Today is the first day of the challenge. I uploaded this icon a little while ago. It takes a couple days for the site to approve your uploaded icon so it can be published. I’ll come up with a way to decide what the noun I’ll design for the day. But for now, I’m optimistic and excited.


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