If you've been to my About page lately, you may have seen my new manifesto. I got the idea from a Design Matters podcast when Debbie Millman interviewed Jonathan Adler about his company's manifesto. It inspired me so much that I wrote my own.
Do what makes you happy
This one seems pretty self explanatory but you'd be surprised how much of my life I spent doing work that I disliked or even downright hated. It's easy to fall into the trap of working for a living and losing sight of your goals. It usually takes a wake up call to shake you out of it. For me, it was the death of my brother. It made me realize that life is short and you're not gonna live forever.
Use technology but don't rely on it to create for you
As we rely more and more on technology to help us with our tasks, we tend to take shortcuts that make the final result sorta meh. Don't get me wrong, I love technology and use it a great deal in my work. Especially the Processing language and Illustrator. But I make sure to do research, concepting, and sketching before ever touching the computer. It's so easy to make derivative art and so hard to make something unique.
Producing your own products informs the design
As a designer, it got frustrating sending my work off to the printer and having it come back dull or printed incorrectly. I really like having control of the whole process from concept to final execution. I find that having to execute my own designs makes me a better designer because I learn by the process of doing.
Great things can be started in your garage
I never really thought about using my garage as a creative space until I ran out of space in my house. It took some remodeling and giving away a bunch of stuff but now I love having room to create in and not worry about being messy. Having a setup is critical according to David Lynch.
It wasn't until I had the garage setup that I started to grow as an artist. I have a space of my own where I can work in peace and photograph my work in progress. You don't need a perfect loft studio, you just need a space of your own.
There is no difference between art, craft, and design
This one has been on my mind for quite some time. I think Milton Glaser said that there is no difference between art and design and I have to agree. I spent way too much time trying to decide what type of designer I was instead of focusing on making good work. I believe great design has some art in it and vice versa.
Create products for different genders and body types
It's always bothered me that the cool t-shirts seemed to be printed for men and not for women. I would go to an event and all I could get was the men's small (if I was lucky). I really like the idea of unisex clothes but I know men and women are different shapes and sizes. I am making it a goal to make my designs available for as many types of people as possible.
Always use environmentally safe materials
Screen printing used to rely on plastisol inks and toxic cleaners. Today, there are a lot of options for water-based inks and non-toxic cleaners so I can protect the environment and my health. I wouldn't even be screen printing if that wasn't the case.