36 Days of Joy – A 36 Days of Type Project

Arguably one of the most popular creative challenges for designers, typographers and illustrators, now celebrating its 10th year of playful experimentation.

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A typographic playground

Started by Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea, 36 Days of Type is a global expression of typography and the Roman alphabet. There’s something awesome about seeing how different creatives interpret something as simple as a letter (or number) and over the years I’ve been introduced to and inspired by incredible designers from around the world including Maricor/Maricar, Becca Clason and Julianna Szabo.

I’ve participated myself a few times (the first in 2017), sometimes finishing, sometimes not. I’ve tried papercutting and quick fineliner, modular themes & a chocolate bar series. This year I decided to base my theme around something very important to me…joy!

This project aims to share some of the things that bring me joy – whether big or small – and to highlight that we can find and acknowledge moments of joy anywhere. Because let’s be honest, we all could do with allowing ourselves to feel more joy, every day.

A is for Autumn

Today is all about Autumn, my favourite season. Perhaps because I’m an Autumn baby but something about the warm sun and cool breeze, cardigans and hot chocolate, turning of the leaves and the smell of fireworks…never fails to put a smile on my face.

B is for Books

I used to read a lot and fell out of love practise with it. I stopped reading for fun in high-school – people thought I was weird/boring/lazy/boff because I genuinely liked reading for fun and not just for school.

This year I decided to take action and set a goal to read a book a month to get back into reading as a hobby – I started with Atomic Habits to help my consistency, and joined a virtual book club because I had no idea what books I even liked anymore…spoiler, I still don’t. BUT I hit my first quarter goal and bought a new book as a reward 🙂

I love when I get to curl up in the nook of my sofa with a big cup of tea, the smell of a new book (iykyk), and my new morning ritual of reading a few pages to warm up my mind before I start my day. The joy of seeing an author’s dedication at the beginning, the delight at seeing previous owner’s handwritten notes in the margins, the way I laugh at myself when I cover up the rest of the page because I don’t want a spoiler…😅

At this point I think I’m in love with books, and my dream of having a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves and a rolling library ladder might actually come true.

C is for Celebration

What’s a joy theme without celebrating!? I wholeheartedly believe that we all need to celebrate more in life. Big things, small things, everyday things, things that don’t make sense to anyone but you…

Mum would celebrate often when I was little and as an adult, I’m so grateful to her for it. She didn’t make celebrating an anomaly, nor keep it reserved for ‘big’ things. She would hang Jolly Roger flags on Talk Like a Pirate Day, give us chocolate gold coins for Lunar New Year, send me a card on my first car’s anniversary…I never questioned marking an occasion and I still don’t.

I celebrate my Japanniversary because it was such an important decision for me (5 years in March). I actually stop and reward myself when I hit my goals. I also encourage everyone who shares a win with me in passing, that they should celebrate it someway too.

And yes, I am taking this opportunity to ask you what (big or small) something you will be celebrating soon? I want to celebrate with you! 🎉🎊👏🏽

D is for Doughnuts

At this point, I think everyone knows I have a sweet-tooth, but doughnuts are a real moment of joy for me.

I think it’s because I don’t really have them often. They’re definitely seen as more of an American baked good and I would generally eat/buy/bake cupcakes. To choose a doughnut from the bakery was a real treat. Ring doughnuts, warm and covered in sugar; tiny chocolate-filled doughnut holes; or giant, pink-icing dipped, sprinkle-covered, jam-filled, marshmallow topped…I already have a smile on my face 😅

Side note: I’ve been in London for 5 years and the lack of proper bakeries is criminal. I still haven’t found a good cream doughnut with sugar and jam, like I got in Suffolk. Can anyone help me find some joy?

E is for Ease

Ease and joy has become a bit of a mantra for me. It’s taken me MANY years of living based on other people’s expectations of me – family, friends, employers, society – to realise that it’s not what I really want for me and my wonderful life.

I’m looking for a soft life, full of ease and joy…for my personal life and my work life. I’m not looking for the 24/7/365 grind, the constantly booked and busy, the passive-yet-always-on millionaire-aspirations-that-do-not-exist-but-people-sell-anyway 👀

However, I don’t want dullness either – bring the variety, play and vibrancy! Y’all know that beige is banned here. No beige businesses and no beige lives. I’m not looking for a magnolia show home, a rigid schedule that’s all work and no play, to wake up and do the same thing over and over and over…

My soft, squishy, vibrant and easeful life looks like blocking time-off throughout the year so that I’m automatically ensuring I’m refilling my cup on the reg, by saying no to (or delegating) the things I don’t want/have to do because it free me up to do more enjoyable things or those I’m better at, and by starting my day slowly with my fav cup of coffee because it puts me in a great mood to be the very best for my clients/family/me.

Doesn’t that just sound dreamy!

F is for Food

For me food is love! It brings me so much joy that I can’t believe that I was eat-6-things-only kinda fussy as a kid. Anyone who knows me probably wouldn’t believe this either 😅

Tasty meals put the biggest smile on my face but my food joy doesn’t just come from eating…the warmth of fresh bread is instantly comforting, the smell of charcoal on the air brings back memories of Caribbean-family bbqs, the excitement of discovering a new snack from somewhere I’ve never been before, the pride of cooking a recipe from scratch, and the happiness of seeing other people enjoy food with me.

I have based the majority of my exploration around the UK and abroad on bakeries i want to visit, coffee shops I want to sit in and food I want to eat. If anyone wants to sponsor me to go somewhere to eat, just say when and where!

And before you ask, yes…I have a happy food dance. Don’t you?

Up next: G-L

If you want to follow along each day join me over on my personal Instagram account, and let me know what brings you joy too! Cus let’s be honest, we all could do with allowing ourselves to feel more joy, every single day.