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The quality rebellion

Hunt for excellence and you’ll find it everywhere

Start hunting for excellence and you’ll find it everywhere. Witness Baskerville, a typeface just as handsome today as it was in 1757. Consider J.S. Bach, who sculpted the sound of truth from reason itself to give us as close of a depiction of the sublime as has yet been rendered.

Consider the one-handed bowline: Elegant, strong and self-aware, the knot uses its own shape to hold itself in place while transporting sailors across the black abyss.

Think of your father’s denim jacket. Think of your mother’s kitchen knife. Think of your grandfather’s compass and your grandmother’s canned fruit. Think of your aunt’s first scientific paper and your uncle’s printing press. Think of your cousin’s hand-tooled saddle and your brother’s marksmanship. Think of your sister’s cello and your best friend’s sprint bike. Quality outside of luxury has a shot at immortality.

Get up from your seat. Tuck your chair under the table as a typesetter might kern a lowercase “w” under the eves of an upper case “T” and take one step backwards—now turn around and think about what you’ll make next. Will it be an app that mimics the look of good design through a clever chain of surface signifiers? Good looking, but banal?

Or will it be a equal parts Michelangelo, Mozart and Milton as you help others make their own lives better through thoughtful, careful rigor and uncontainable creativity?

I believe in you—each of you—all of us—that given the chance, we’d rather spend our days hunting excellence than chasing clicks or mimicking trends.




Complements to the human condition.

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James Buckhouse

James Buckhouse

Design Partner at Sequoia, Founder of Sequoia Design Lab. Past: Twitter, Dreamworks. Guest lecturer at Stanford’s GSB &

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