This can be anything you want — the case for passion projects.
Fred Armisen
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The Case For Passion Projects

This can be anything you want — the case for passion projects.

The Black Sheep Agency was recently inspired by the comedian Louis C.K. (one of our favorites) who, while working on his television series, navigated his way out of a self-imposed roadblock by writing on a notecard, “This can be anything you want.”

We also admit that we were a little envious. As creatives, we have a new idea every three minutes, — no scratch that, more like 30 seconds — and we’d love to execute all of them but we have bosses and clients and co-workers and budgets and never-ending to-do lists. And so placing notecards that read, “This can be anything you want” on our desks would probably just be a great way to set an unattainable goal. But we promise there is a solution. (Did you honestly think we’d be blogging about it if there wasn’t?)

Enter: Passion projects. This is the term we like to use because “side projects” just doesn’t cut it. We put our hearts and souls into these projects. We work late nights and log long hours and sometimes get a little too emotionally attached. Sure, we have that same level of dedication to our clients and feel a huge reward working along side of them. But this kind of work is different. In fact, these projects make us even better at that client work. 

We’re big believers in passion projects, so we thought we’d dedicated this blog to some of our favorite passion projects out there started by people who said to themselves, “This can be anything you want,” and made it work. 

Jessica Hische — As the illustrator behind Wes Anderson’s film fonts, Jessica Hische is an inspiration to designers (and people who appreciate pretty things) everywhere, so it’s no surprise that her side projects are so impressive. From the Daily Drop Cap, which is exactly what it sounds like, to Title Case, a series of workshops and other events, Jessica said that she turned to side projects to exercise the parts of her brain that went unused during client time.

Adam Rubin — As if claiming Firstborn creative director on your resume wasn’t impressive enough, Adam Rubin had to go and add bestselling children’s book author. He said his books like “Dragons Love Tacos” and “Those Darn Squirrels Fly South” helped him improve his work with the ad agency. To produce each book, he had to think critically to tie words and pictures together, and tell a story using few words. Sounds pretty relevant to copywriting, if you ask us.

Tina Roth Eisenberg — The designer behind Swiss Miss, Tina Roth Eisenberg has so many passion projects it’s hard to know which one she considers her actual day job. We might even go so far as to call her the Queen of Passion Projects. She runs Creative Mornings, a popular speaker series, TeuxDeux, a task app that’s so gorgeous it makes all the other task apps jealous, Tattly, a line of temporary tattoos that actually look good, and Studiomates, the coworking space.

Jester King Brewery — If you’re really lucky and you work really hard, you might be able to make some extra cash out of your passion project. Jeff Stuffings, a co-founder of the Austin-based Jester King Brewery, did just that. He knew the homebrew he and his brother Michael were making was far better than your typical brew, so he quit his job at a law firm, and, together, they founded Jester King Brewery, now known for it’s award-winning organic farmhouse ales. We can all say cheers to that passion project.

The Black Sheep Agency is also working on a series of passion projects we plan to launch later this year. (Stay tuned!) What other passion projects have inspired you? And, more importantly, what will your passion project be? What do you want to work on? Just remember, THIS can be anything you want.

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