How to Play an Improv Game for Designers

By September 2, 2022
Examples of our team's design improvisation.

This past year has been about safety, rigidity and constraints—and overall that is a good thing. But creativity also thrives when there is spontaneity and collaboration.

Our team has been playing a remote design improv game on Friday afternoons to reintroduce some fun and team-building into our practice. It’s our version of exquisite corpse for the digital age.

Below are the rules we’ve been using, but we change them up regularly so feel free to improvise!

Players: 2 or more

Time: 1 hour

Equipment / Software:

Preparation (5-10 minutes):

  1. Together, players choose an artwork size so everyone is working at the same dimensions. We like 1920×1080 vertical or horizontal or a 1080×1080 square.
  2. Players find a random color palette. We use
  3. Players choose a quote they like or find a random quote online. Nonsense is fine and encouraged!
  4. Each player is assigned a number (1 to the total number of players

Round 1 (15 minutes):

Free draw shapes using your random color palette.

When time is up, “pass” your file to the next highest number (the highest number passes to number 1).


Round 2 (15 minutes):

Using the file that was passed to you, organize the shapes into a layout.

You can keep the visual language the same or change things dramatically. Use your quote for inspiration.

When time is up “pass” your file. If you are playing with two players, just pass it back.


Round 3 (10-15 minutes):

Using the file that was passed to you, add type!

Use the quote you chose or adapt it as you like. Feel free to make any final layout adjustments as well.

Spend as much time as you still have in the hour, once time is up, you are done!


You’re done!

Share the finished pieces with all players!