What's your 'other' creative outlet?

7 years ago from , Design Lead, Northrop Grumman

Hey everyone,

Someone I worked with asked me, what are my other creative outlets. And I realized, I don't really have one. I guess doodling/drawing, but I rarely do that. He did sculpting on the side.

I was wondering, what some of you did instead of design to help grow creatively?


Edits: My other outlets though are surfing, biking (road & mountain), running and weight lifting, hiking and cooking.


  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, 7 years ago

    Droppin' buckets on scrubs at the local courts.

    12 points
  • A Paul, 7 years ago

    I write and perform sketch and standup comedy!

    Design is no joke, though.

    11 points
  • Brian FryerBrian Fryer, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )


    Earlier this year, I was all about that pressure cooker life—from super-quick chicken stock to Osso Buco to shredded beef for Italiano sandwiches. I still make chicken stock every week because it's so simple. Now that my new sous vide machine came in over the weekend, I'm ramping up on things to make with that... I'm thinking burgers are next on the menu.

    To date, my favorite recipe is the thing I've never cooked before. I'm always looking for new things to try to help me, not only grow as a chef, but also to be more inclusive of others with what I make. For instance, a couple of my vegan friends were feeling a bit left out of my dinner parties, so I threw a feast for them and served—among other things—vegan queso.

    And it's not just cooking, either—planning out a menu is equally as fun. I've watched countless hours of YouTube cooking channels to get ideas for dishes and learn new techniques (Food Wishes + ChefSteps are my current faves). I spent two days shopping/prepping/cooking for my Friendsgiving last week, and four days on my Thanksgiving feast in 2013 (one friend half-jokingly stated my Thanksgiving 2013 was better organized than his business at the time).

    If anyone is interested, here are a few of my Trello boards I've used for planning/saving recipes:





    5 points
    • Zach Hubbard, 7 years ago

      Yea, I look cooking, but some days, it does feel like a chore. My gf had to work on Thanksgiving (journalism), so that morning we made paella. I've definitely taken to learning better technique and understanding how ingredients mix with each other. Like what takes for a good marinade.

      I guess, I never thought of it really as a creative pursuit, except that it tastes good. Thanks!

      0 points
    • Jason MJason M, 7 years ago

      These are some amazingly well documented boards! Do you have a simple process for jotting these all into Trello?

      0 points
      • Brian FryerBrian Fryer, 7 years ago

        I don't know about "simple", but here's what I do:

        1. Create new board named "XYZ Feast"
        2. Add new card named after the menu item
        3. Open card > edit description > paste link to source

        I do that ^ while researching. Once I've settled on the menu, I'll archive the cards for recipes I won't make. For the ones that remain, I re-read the recipes and/or re-watch the videos and add my own "process" notes to the description, and then make a checklist for ingredients I need to buy.

        0 points
  • Alex CarpenterAlex Carpenter, 7 years ago

    Fly fishing

    4 points
  • Chloe SilverChloe Silver, 7 years ago

    I joined a Brazilian drumming band this year (not a joke! haha) and have always enjoyed crafting on the side. I love to make things with my hands, which you don't always get to do as a product/ux/ui/whatever designer.

    4 points
    • Zach Hubbard, 7 years ago

      Oh that sounds really cool. Maybe instruments would be the way to go.... thanks!

      0 points
  • Corwin HarrellCorwin Harrell, 7 years ago

    Football (Soccer)

    3 points
  • Ryan RushingRyan Rushing, 7 years ago

    I've taken to learning sign-painting (Remember Your Strengths piece and You Are Here piece), and I also enjoy sculpting stuff and casting it in concrete. Some of my favorites are my Mightier pen holder, Half Full coaster, and X bookend.

    3 points
    • Mario MontoyaMario Montoya, 7 years ago

      Signing painting and Lettering has been the perfect creative outlet outside of product design.

      What helped you practice/get started? I haven't been making anything consistenty and I've gotten way too rusty, started this over the weekend and I still can't get used to painting letters with a brush.


      0 points
      • Ryan RushingRyan Rushing, almost 7 years ago

        To get started lettering and sign-painting, I suggest giving yourself a list of words or phrases and do that consistently for a couple months. That'll give you a chance to develop a style and process that you feel comfortable with.

        For me working with sign-painting enamel and brushes drastically improved my pen lettering since I was able to develop those tiny muscles. Totally worth it putting in the time to develop the skills, even if you're not going to be a "sign-painter."

        Good luck, and keep DN updated with your progress!

        0 points
  • Jovana AndjelkovicJovana Andjelkovic, 7 years ago

    I voluntarily assemble IKEA furniture ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    2 points
  • Timothy McKennaTimothy McKenna, 7 years ago

    Three things actually...

    Brewing beer: I got into homebrewing one I reached out to a friend of mine to make a special brew for an AIGA event I ran. It was fantastic (both the event and the beer) and he invited me over for the brewday. That was almost 2 years ago at this point and I slowly accumulated my own gear and began brewing in my garage. As a hobby, it can be as deep as you want to go (water chemistry, sugar attenuation, yeast cultivation, etc) or just as easy as reading a recipe on a kit. So far I have made about 6 different beers, 1 hard cider and 1 acergyln (which is a type of mead made with maple syrup). What I like about it is the fact it's a super fun day relaxing, watching water boil and smelling all the grains and hops steep. Put on some Tool or We Lost The Sea and it's a relaxing day.

    Drumming: I have been playing drums since I was 14 (32 now) and I'll admit, when I have a freelancer client who is annoying...getting behind the kit and blasting out some aggression is cathartic. I used to play in a bunch of bands when I was younger, but now I just have friends over to jam, drink homebrew, and forget about work for a while. On the upside, I play a lot of metal and punk style music, so I get a good workout after playing something crazy like Bleeding Through or Nile.

    Cooking: I find that cooking sparks that same part of my brain when I am in discovery mode for design work. Cooking is fun because you can always try outdo yourself (same with brewing I suppose). I have this recipe of Smoked Bacon & Mushroom Baked Mac & Cheese that I am always tweaking a bit to get it just right. I've probably made it around 30 times now and I am always tweaking one ingredient or another.

    Cooking and Brewing is great because others can enjoy it. The drumming though....well...I'm not going to be asked to replace Lars Ulrich anytime soon.

    2 points
  • Mason LawlorMason Lawlor, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Like many others on here: Music, photography, video, podcasting, reading/writing, etc.

    I also enjoy cycling, backingpacking (alpinism), every type of rock climbing, and for being such an active person, I sure play a lot of video games :)

    2 points
  • Garrett GalaydaGarrett Galayda, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    UPDATE: malware redirect removed, thanks for the heads up!

    I have a side business building suitcase speakers from scratch, It started out a hobby but quickly grew over a few years. Its the one thing I look forward to on the weekends, listening to NPR and building in my shop. Have a look!

    Suitcase Speakers http://thehificase.com/

    also working on a new product line and brand here audiohouse.io

    Chat me on my site for questions!


    2 points
  • Casey CavanaghCasey Cavanagh, 7 years ago

    I'm a singer songwriter – actually in the process of writing & recording a new album!

    1 point
  • Julie RobertsJulie Roberts, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    I sew. Mostly clothing for me, but also random things like a carboy cozy for my husband's home brew.

    I did some letterpress in college and someday, when I can afford a press, I'd like to do that as a side hobby/business.

    1 point
  • Max Quinn, 7 years ago

    I'm into Photography, Writing Fiction, Performing poetry and making music (Hip Hop). Keeps me busy!

    1 point
  • Dajo Revyn, 7 years ago

    I've recently got myself a Heidelberg Windmill letterpress and some equipment to make my own photopolymer plates. After spending the week on a computer, it gives a lot of satisfaction working with a 100% mechanical machine, mixing inks and generally getting my hands dirty.

    1 point
  • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, 7 years ago

    Climbing! Not sure how 'creative' you could call it but it's all about problem solving

    1 point
  • JC .JC ., 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Bicycling & wrenching the bikes: Besides riding bikes (road & fixed gear), I really like taking apart old bikes, cleaning all the parts, perhaps repaint the frame, and put it all back together. I’ve amassed a bunch of bike parts for almost a decade now so I have a good collection of things that I can cobble together a working bicycle pretty easily. Since I’m on the computer pretty much all the time, it’s really satisfying to work with my hands and tinker with parts to make something new(ish) & functionality again, as well as “designing” the bikes (e.g. I have this random mustache bar, what happens if i put it on my beater fixed gear with these fat-ass tires?). Then I sell them for some dollars on Craigslist.

    A newer hobby of mine is cooking. Again, I like that I’m working with my hands & knife instead of a mouse & keyboard—dicing up a bunch of meats/veg, and experimenting with different seasonings to see how it all comes together (e.g. what if I throw this wine on this chicken breast and put it in the toaster oven?).

    1 point
  • Joshua MillerJoshua Miller, 7 years ago

    Woodworking & Weight Lifting

    1 point
  • Eliot SlevinEliot Slevin, 7 years ago

    I shuffle playing cards. https://www.instagram.com/p/BNGxtmZDHNV/

    1 point
  • Maggie Gaudaen, 7 years ago

    Planning tiny weddings! Everyone's so happy!

    1 point
  • Patrick Brown, 7 years ago

    I've been auditioning to join a pretty prominent Lego User Group by designing MOC's ("My own creation") digitally and ordering/scrounging parts for the build.

    Originally, I had grand ambitions of trying to get certified as a master builder and creating larger scale gallery pieces. But I just like the process of working with my hands, and it's really fun to see your design take shape slowly.

    I will caution anyone that is an expensive hobby, though.

    1 point
  • Darrell HanleyDarrell Hanley, 7 years ago

    I've done a lot of photography. I also had a movie podcast for a bit, and I'm pretty close to releasing a sticker pack soon for iMessage.

    1 point
  • alec salec s, 7 years ago

    I've fallen in love with street photography over the last few years. There's something liberating about just sitting somewhere and capturing something beautiful without it being tied to work. I guess I feel like many designers enjoy photography because it's fun to use your design knowledge and apply it to composing photos (even though they aren't the same thing).

    I've also become obsessed with comics (Dark Horse & Image, mainly) in the last six months, I'm flirting with the idea of creating my own!

    1 point
  • Ray MartinRay Martin, 7 years ago

    Photography, drawing, weight lifting and cars.

    1 point
  • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, 7 years ago

    I've been travelling a lot over the last year, and took the opportunity to get into street photography — and the last six months, a lot more portrait shoots.

    Less about "help[ing] grow creatively," but still in the vein of behavior/social systems — I write policy papers at my university, using the same early research and interview process I use in product design.

    1 point
  • Demi Schanzel, 7 years ago

    Mostly I've taken the last year to get back into figure drawing, since it's really kind of soothing and mindless; perfect after an afternoon of conjuring up inane problems and then attempting to design up solutions for them

    1 point
  • Aaron Wears Many HatsAaron Wears Many Hats, almost 7 years ago

    I build race cars, which I'm generally too broke to actually race. But it's fun turning the spanners on something that requires less critical thought.

    0 points
  • Bugsy SailorBugsy Sailor, 7 years ago

    Playing hockey. Snowboarding. Inclement weather. Sunsets. Photography.

    0 points
  • Finlay CraigFinlay Craig, 7 years ago

    Photography and writing.

    0 points
  • Mark Cipolla, 7 years ago

    I've always enjoyed cooking, and recently I've gotten into woodwork and making furniture.

    Combining the two, I made a dining table out of Tasmanian oak, with about 300 screws and hairpin legs.

    Next, I think, will be a bed frame...

    0 points
  • Luke Bugbee, 7 years ago

    I spend hundreds of hours cutting and gluing thousands of strips of paper together. hahah

    No but really I do: https://www.behance.net/lukebugbee

    0 points
  • Cassie Slack, 7 years ago

    I doodle critters and I also make and sell prints, which also helps me with work since I work at Shopify and then use the platform to do my side thing.. so that's neat.

    I wouldn't worry so much about having that side thing though, it can be fun and beneficial, but if designing makes you happy don't feel like you're missing something because you aren't doing other stuff ❤️

    0 points
  • No NameNo Name, 7 years ago

    I draw and cook. :)

    0 points
  • Bevan StephensBevan Stephens, 7 years ago


    0 points
  • Greg Warner, 7 years ago

    Cooking and music. Getting back into keyboard and guitar more these days, and hoping I can settle down to learn some proper recording techniques eventually. Mellow guitar picking in the evenings is so incredibly therapeutic. I'd love to get into woodworking (my Dad's craft) down the road too. Not the industry it once was, but the thought of designing and creating furniture sounds amazing.

    0 points
  • Account deleted 7 years ago

    I play bass guitar.

    0 points
  • Dan SherrattDan Sherratt, 7 years ago

    Screen Printing

    0 points
  • Nemanja NenadicNemanja Nenadic, 7 years ago

    Doing Arduino projects for fun.

    0 points
  • Robert GermundssonRobert Germundsson, 7 years ago


    0 points
  • Metin SarayMetin Saray, 7 years ago

    I'm kinda feeling bad because of the same thing. I strongly feel it's the time to expand my creative output and introduce myself a new medium. I've started anatomy drawing for character concepts but procrastination hits every time. If someone asks what do I do else, I kinda wanna say something else sometimes, rather than digital design..

    0 points
  • Igor StumbergerIgor Stumberger, 7 years ago

    I started throwing clay about a year ago and am now looking to find a nice wheel so I can do it at home and practice more...something about working with clay and your hands is just so relaxing, but also requires a "steady" mind, which makes you forget about everything and be just there in the moment.

    Also band practice (I sing and play a little bit of guitar), both with throwing it kinda expands my creativity that I can then bring to digital.

    0 points
  • Jason MJason M, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Polymer Clay sculpting, Building Tabletop/Boardgames, Cooking, Watercolor painting.

    0 points
  • barry saundersbarry saunders, 7 years ago

    Writing, making music, and riding motorcycles. And drawing (badly)

    0 points
  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Fishing & archery!

    I really enjoy them because they are outdoors and let me quiet my mind.

    0 points
  • Joe Blau, 7 years ago

    Snowboarding... Steep and deep. I like Big Jumps and Big Dumps.

    0 points
  • Adham DannawayAdham Dannaway, 7 years ago

    Interior design :-)

    0 points
  • Kyle SKyle S, 7 years ago

    I started making mixes a couple years ago. Just collected a ton of music from Soundcloud, popped them into Ableton, and learned a little about the art of mixing so that I could layer songs into each other to make a nice fluid mix of music.

    Eventually I got an affordable dj mixer and started djing at parties and stuff. Now I've started producing my own music and it has just been a fun experience learning more about music theory and beat production.

    Here is my Soundcloud profile: https://soundcloud.com/thevissilent (I haven't posted any of my own songs yet but I have a couple mixes on there right now)

    0 points
  • Vincent Riemer, 7 years ago

    I (attempt) to produce and mix/dj dance music. The trouble is finding the energy after work to actually do it.

    0 points
  • Vincent Riemer, 7 years ago

    Though I've had a lot of trouble lately finding the energy to work on it I get a lot of my creative satisfaction producing dance music on the side.

    0 points
  • SuzanneMarije CornelissenSuzanneMarije Cornelissen, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    I used to have a lot of creative outlets / side projects. From designing, making en selling jewelry. Photography, Drawing, Painting, Writing, Crochet design projects (soothes the mind), Cooking (and taking pictures, writing recipes, and post them).

    I guess I've always had so many projects going on exploring different things creatively (but mostly, guess when I got bored I just stopped, or let it slip away).

    Since about a year I slowed myself down a bit and start to choose my "side projects" more carefully because they were kind of taking over and I jumped from one to an other.

    Now I just stick to my job in which I am very lucky to put in a huge chunk of creativity. And try to go more in depth with the skills I have and enjoy. Want to keep learning.

    0 points
  • Alex CampAlex Camp, 7 years ago

    Make beats and record music on my computer. You can peep some of my sounds at http://soundsbyalo.com

    0 points
  • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, 7 years ago

    My YouTube channel.

    0 points