100 Variations

“People may lose 20 to 40 percent of their muscle — and, along with it, their strength — as they age.
Scientists have found that a major reason people lose muscle is because they stop doing everyday activities that use muscle power, not just because they grow older.”
—Harvard Health

Bernd Becher, Hilla Becher, Framework Houses, 1959-73
What can you produce over 100 days?  

But what do you do when you don't have anything to work with? Just stay in bed? Writers have this figured out: it's amazing how many of them have a rigid routine. John Cheever, for instance, used to wake up every morning in his New York City apartment, put on a jacket and tie, kiss his wife goodbye, and take the elevator down to his apartment building's basement, when he would sit at a small desk and write until quitting time, at which point he'd go back up.

This project is an exercise in endurance. By the end of the 12-week course, you will have 100 “visual translations”, showing some sort of evolution over time.

This project is good testing ground: You should try new techniques and surprising combinations. No single “visual translation” you make is that important since there will be many. Remember to not spend more than 20 minutes on any single visual translation.

At some point, these visual translations should be worthwhile to show an audience. After a week or two of translating, think about encouraging people to follow you. There are various ways to grow and interact with an audience, but one method is to follow those people who you hope follow you back in return.

Before you begin, consider your general approach to the visual translations. What is your source material like? What are the texts about? If you set up a personal constraint, what is it? Remember that at the end, you will be viewing all 100 visual translations as an archive, showing their trajectory over time.

Please remember to be thoughtful and considerate when choosing your source. While we want to raise interesting questions, please be careful to not offend anyone else in the classroom (especially based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender). If you do choose a controversial source, your visual translations must clearly offer criticism. Please speak or email with me before continuing if you think your source could potentially be offensive.

  1. Decide on a daily task. It could be anything. You can do a film yourself doing a new dance everyday, you can do make a drawing of the weather everyday, you can read a new book everyday, you can make a video of something everyday. Think of things that are highly specific an interpretation of song or filming yourself taking a step out of class. It’s about repetition and something that you might be able to stand doing for 100 days.  

  2. Create a new account Instagram account specifically for this assignment. This platform should allow you to regularly post an image along with a visible date.

  3. For the next 100 days you will make a visual translation. A visual translation...
    — is square (recommended 2400px by 2400px)
    — is in either .jpg or .png file format
    — includes a separate image, graphic, and/or other visual element should not take longer than 20 minutes to create
    — is posted to your image-based account after creation

Learning objectives 
  • Learn about process
  • Build basic prototyping and presentation skills
  • Develop visual sensibilities
  • Develop a critical awareness of time and how it affects the reading of a design 
  • Build an understanding of consistency and awareness
  • Experience sharing your work with the public


One-Hundred Days 

100 Warm Jets
Five Years of 100 Days
Surplus Surplus Surplus
100 Days
Visual Surf Report

This project is a translation from Michael Bierut’s 100 Day’s Workshop at Yale University. Thank you.