Principles for the Studio

Tom Sachs’ 10 Bullets, John Cage’s rules for students and teachers, Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto, No Dickheads! The list is long …and they’re all good.

Jeremy Yuille
design→ ←futures
3 min readJun 22, 2015


The studio is a sacred space for designers. Taking it online — like we’re doing with the MDF— means we need to get serious about what we mean when we say “studio”.

We decided to build a set of principles for the MDF studio. Something that all the faculty agree to, and that all the students sign up to, so that there’s a standard of minimum viable behaviour that everyone can expect. It can also be a jumping off point to the canon that we want to situate our work within.

Principles are a great format to do this: aspirational and not too prescriptive.

so — here’s a first go at it — this will grow with use and time, we’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and comments on whether you think this is useful, how it might be better, what we might want to be mindful of…

Principles for the Studio

Engage Relentlessly

you’ve gotta eat the world with your eyes…” — Chip Kidd

Read everything you can get your hands on. Listen to it all.
Engage as widely as possible. Go deeper.
Exhaust your environment.
Use all your senses.

Fear Less

Be fearless about trying out new things — you have nothing to lose.
Don’t try second guess the perfect outcome, it’s never as good as your fearless imaginative response.

Share Promiscuously

Put your thoughts down and share them. Regularly.
This is good for everyone: it makes the tacit explicit & it builds the studio discourse.

Make Often

Use your craft to expand the conversation. Build your tolerance for ambiguity. Craft your skills with making the abstract concrete.

Make Better

When we critically engage with each other’s work, we make it better. Give this gift regularly, and expect it in return. Fiercely defend your work, and the standard of the discourse around it.

Be Demanding

“…pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students” — Sister Corita Kent (& John Cage)Maria Popova

Expect more from your peers, and the converse will help you grow.

Be Kind

Cultivate a generosity toward failure, and you’re already learning.
(remember to breathe)

Improvise Together

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams
- principles of the Agile Manifesto

Your unexamined rules (and roles) are the ones that’ll limit you most.

Multiply the Futures

Work on holding multiple visions of the future in your mind at the same time.

we’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and comments on whether you think this is useful, how it might be better, what we might want to be mindful of…

Master of Design Futures

RMIT University’s Master of Design Futures is an accelerated post-professional program for experienced designers wanting to apply their skills to strategic and leadership roles.

The program begins in late July, 2015

Get in touch, see how the program is structured, or read more about the program. You can Apply Here.



Jeremy Yuille
design→ ←futures

Principal @WeAreMeld Melbourne. Designer, coach, learner, seeker, finder, explorer.