For each project, I design a letter to represent it and the associated word.
The alpha project is quite meta as I built the project during its two-week sprint. This meant I needed to decide on the visual language including the colors and style.
After exploring options that included doodles, I decided I liked the text mask version. [UPDATE: When I did my "B" project Beta), I ended up changing the visual direction completely to what you see on the site now.]
Alpha is the perfect word to kick off this new abecedarian project that is also the first version of this concept.
I've kept a running list of project ideas since I bought my first iPhone. When I'm looking to start a new project, I'll scroll through years of thoughts. Some ideas are laughably terrible. Others have since been realized by others (hello vegan fast food!).
At the end of 2020, I revisited my list and found "alpha projects." The idea was to take the 52 weeks of the year and divide them into 26 two-week sprints that corresponded with the letters of the alphabet.
Rediscovering this idea before the new year couldn't have been better timing.
Here are a mix of personal projects I've done or been inspired by:
- WriteMarch: My 30-day writing challenge
- The Leap Year Project: Chronicles Victor Saad's nontraditional Master's via 12 projects in 12 months along with stories of other people who've take leaps of their own
- #The100Day Project: Thousands of people all around the world commit to 100 days of creating each year.
Aside from alpha's concept of the beginning or first version, I'm inspired by the alphabet itself and the ways people have been creative with it.
I'm using Notion more and more. This inspired me to make the project website in Notion as well as the planning. I mapped out the alphabet against two-week sprints, created a set up and template to-do lists, and began planning out the A sprint.
I purchased a domain at the start of the sprint and decided to test hosting it on Super. The service costs $12/month to host the Notion site on my custom domain and thankfully gave me a 7-day free trial.
Here's where I ended up with the website design [UPDATE: If you're reading this now, you'll notice the ALPHA PROJECTS website didn't stay on Notion beyond the Alpha sprint].
I assumed two-week sprints were short enough to be challenging and long enough to produce a quality project without too much stress. That does seem to be true. I planned to work a little each day but ended up procrastinating. Most of the work was done on the sprint's final day but it still felt manageable. With the setup done, I'm looking forward to going deeper on future projects.
Here are more technical observations:
- Notion's constraints made it easy for me to decide on a color palette (I chose Notion's!)
- Screenshots get lost on the page so I'll need to format images in Figma first so they have a drop shadow or border.
- Because Notion's design is well-defined, it was rewarding to see where I could push it (e.g. the linear gradient in the "cover" header.
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