My (everchanging) Design Manifesto

Take it or leave it

I’m new to this whole writing thing. I kind of hate it, but also love it because it’s a challenge and sort of corners me into digesting my own views, thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. It’s so easy to have opinions and to complain and to scroll through all your friends opinions and complaints, but opening a document and staring at a blank page thats prompting you to say something that might actually matter is a whole other thing.

I decided to start off by sharing a few things I believe to be true about my role as an artist and creator — a manifesto if you will. Take it or leave it.

  1. stay humble

We will never come to a point where we have reached our maximum capacity of knowledge. We will never hit the end of the road where we have learned it all and have nothing else to learn from anyone. (That would sort of be a mega bummer if that happened, amiright?) I believe we have a responsibility to read books, ask for help, do our research, and connect and collaborate with artists and people around us. Don’t ever become too proud to ask for help, get opinions on your work, or turn down opportunites to collaborate with other artists. We’re all in this together, and that’s the best part.

2. let go

Let go of things in your life that didn’t go perfectly, failure will happen and happen often. Let go of lingering disapprovals and self consciousness and doubt — you aren’t your mistakes, you aren’t your successes, you aren’t your work. Embrace things that make you uncomfortable and roll with the punches, knowing that these things are shaping you and building you. Growing pains are sometimes discouraging, but without them you will remain stagnant and never experience the greatness that you could accomplish with the right amount of risk.

3. be passionate

Take pleasure in your work and pursuits and pour your heart into what you do. Remember to take time to make things that aren’t for a client or a job or a paycheck — but for your soul. I once heard someone give this advice: ‘What you can’t do 9–5, do 5-midnight.’ You sort of have to have an obsession with what you do. Get excited, get crazy, get weird.

4. always wonder

Always wonder, always question, always dream. We were created to ask questions and ignoring the ‘I wonders’ puts us at risk of stifling our work and potential before it even has time to grow roots, let alone produce fruit. Never be content with where you are, but wonder how you can dive deeper into your talents and gifts and press into the fact that no one else has your exact set of skills. No one else has done what you have done or been through what you have been through. There is so much importance and weight to that so don’t miss it — what you have to offer is so so special. Keep wondering.

5. accept responsibility

People trust us. They hand us over their ideas and thoughts and plans, and trust that we will protect their integrity and purpose. We have the responsibility of shaping our generations culture and ideals. Things can’t be unseen — my design can’t be unseen. We must use our skills and talents and efforts in high regard. 
 
6. be diverse

Accept that people will believe different things than you, look different than you, and want different things than you. Just because it’s not the way you would do it doesn’t mean that it is the wrong thing. If everyone liked the same things, there wouldn’t ever be anything new or different to challenge your ideas. Not everyone will love your work like you do, get over it.

7. be innovative

The possibilities for innovation are limitless. They will literally never run out. Be smart, be restless, use your resources — create work that is useful and understandable and clear. Choose something you believe in and fight for it with your work. It could be social issues, it could be politics, or it could be taking picture of eggs. It can be anything, but get passionate y’all — get obsessed. Push boundaries; follow some rules and make a few of your own. Stop thinking about what every one else is doing because the only person that can do your ideas is you.

“The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design.” 
 
-Massimo Vignelli

I’m going to keep doing this writing thing, so if there’s anyone out there reading — I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re feeling saucy, check out my work on Instagram or Behance, (personal website currently under construction, pray for me.)