As ideas for a better-designed tomorrow start flowing, it may be useful to identify a few of the false narratives that creep into our world and into our work. Particularly when we are afraid, we humans tend to wrap ourselves in ancient stories that make us feel safe. I certainly understand that instinct. But, if we let it, this is also a perfect season in which to evaluate the underlying belief structures that shape our design thinking—and perhaps bust a few of our most enduring myths.
Having logged more hours sitting on video conference calls over the past couple of weeks than I care to remember, I’ve noticed a few trends that (for me at least) can totally make or break a call.
Lettering assignment for Story Matters magazine. Ashley Rose Walton, Art Director.
(Issue 2, 2019)
A reimagining of the seal and flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Remain ready at all times and in all places
- Approach every opportunity to receive help
- Adopt the adventures of Robin Hood
- Avoid the culture of sports
- Honor all women at all times
- Treat all men as equals at all times
- Think about your own death only enough to prepare
- Be careful never to become too comfortable
- Borrow as little as possible
- Learn to sharpen blades
- Delight in good food and drink
- Find a trade and a bride and a place
This past weekend, I had the privilege of participating in the first workshop offered by Umbau School’s new Studio Shenandoah in Staunton, Virginia. Umbau, which means something like transformation zone, is a school of studios—or places of focused study.
Whenever feasible, I’m an advocate of value-based pricing in creative work and particularly digital work. Having tracked and billed hours for many years, I understand the model and that it’s sometimes appropriate, but I think the future is fixed.
Herein lies the paradox: if our ego can convince us that the pain of bearing hard things isn’t worth the strength that comes from it, we will never be excellent. We will be comfortable and mediocre.
Smartphones come out of the box in full-on casino mode. They are pre-programmed to do everything they can to trigger your inner Neanderthal screen junkie. But it need not be so.