Unsolicited redesigns has been a hot topic in the design community lately and a lot of designers think that unsolicited redesigns are lame, a waste of time and something only amateur designers do. I totally disagree, I think they can be a great exercise for designers at any stage of their career. They're a lot of fun to do and a great way to clear your mind if your busy working on a "real" project. I often try to redesign apps that I find interesting or inspiring to challenge myself. I'll normally give myself a time limit. I spend some time sketching and thinking about what things I might like to try to improve the design visually or how might I make the interaction design better. Once I come up with some solutions I like on paper, I recreate everything from the ground up — the icons, everything. I've found that doing these kind of exercises has not only improved my speed for creating mockups in Photoshop but my speed for thinking through product/interaction design solutions as well.
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