Design Cross-Training Exercises, #4: Sign of the Times

Dig into one of 10 design exercises featured in the Summer issue of HOW Magazine, and share your creations on Twitter or Instagram with #DesignXTraining. 

Design Exercises: Sign of the Times

Time limit: 60 minutes

Think of a local store in your neighborhood. You’ve been hired to come up with a handdrawn “We’re Open” sign for them to hang on the front door. However, they don’t want just one sign. They want a unique sign for each hour that the store is open, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Create sketches for each sign. Your design should speak to the spirit of the store, and entice passersby to take a peek inside.

Want to print out this template? Cick here to download this page from the magazine.


Phase 1: The store owner wants you to personalize the “We’re Open” signs for each day of the week. Adapt your solution accordingly.

Phase 2: Business is booming! The store will now be open 24/7. What does this mean for your solution?


The business loves your typeface from Exercise 1. Redo your signs incorporating this typeface.

In the Summer issue of HOW, David & Mary Sherwin present a series of 10 essential design exercises to keep your creativity agile, energetic and powerful. Each one is paired with skill-building next steps and creative cross-training activities to help you work out different parts of your brain. Why is creative cross-training important? As Sherwin writes,

“Cross-training taught me a different sort of discipline as a designer. You can work on improving specific skills that come up as part of projects: Arranging elements in a page spread, crafting a compelling identity or icon, laying out a responsive website, or animating graphics for a video. But your biggest gains will come from design cross-training—moving through a variety of different design exercises that help you build and extend your skills.”

Keep an eye out at for more exciting design exercises, and check out all of them in HOW Magazine!

The extended deadline for the HOW In-House Design Awards is July 5. Don’t miss this opportunity to recognize your team’s work—because a boost of confidence really is in reach! All it takes is one entry.