Sunday, 6 May 2012




00_ Design should not be based on formal principles – but always on an idea of society.
01_ Designed forms represent possible social orders and a lot of their contradictions.
02_ Design is everything. Anything could be designed. Everyone is a designer.
03_ Design allows social innovations. Often it is not made by designers.
04_ Design has not scale. It could be small and have great impact.
05_ Design is not an innocent practice. Designers are wicked.
06_ Design should engage people and interact with them.
07_ Design is an interdisciplinary applied science.
08_ Design produces visual consciousness.
09_ Design is a triangular manifesto.
10_ Design makes you smile.
11_ This is the top.
12_ Enjoy!

The Edenspiekermann Manifesto

  • 01 We don’t do good work.
    Good work is not enough; we need to do great work. 
    02 We invent new tools.
    That may mean throwing out the old toolbox.
    03 We need inspiration to inspire.
    Share your experiences, ideas, failures, successes.
    04 We tolerate failure.
    Failure is part of the process.
    05 We collaborate.
    Collaboration does not mean consensus.
  • 06 We generate ideas.
    Idea generation is not idea selection. 
    07 We like making stuff.
    Useful, beautiful, important things.
    08 We dare say no.
    Saying yes is often just laziness.
    09 We like surprises.
    We have to mistrust our own routines.
    10 It’s your company, too.
    If something can be done better, don’t wait for permission.

    Mike Mills MANIFESTO
    • Humans 01 Manifesto
      No plan survives first contact with the enemy. Sometimes being dumb is the only smart alternative. Shy people are secretly egoists. Nothing is real. Everything you see is a dream you project onto the world. Children live out their parents unconscious. The only animals that suffer from anxiety are the ones that associate with humans. I don’t trust people who are very articulate. The only way to be sane is to embrace your sanity. When you feel guilty about being sad, remember Walt Disney was a manic depressive. Everything I said could be totally wrong. 
      Humans 02 Manifesto
      Everything is transient. Everything is a process not an object.
      Humans 03 Manifesto
      01 Be more positive.
      02 Try to stop anthropomorphizing the animals I know, or at least do it less.
      03 Play games that require abandon.
      04 Get better at maintaining relationships with friends. 
      05 Look at how I’m not fully conscious of my real life, admit that I’m groping in the dark, overwhelmed by the consequences of my acts and that at every moment I’m faced with outcomes I did not intend.
      Humans 04 Manifesto
      Animal rights is the movement to protect animals from being used or regarded as property by human beings. It is a radical social movement insofar as it aims not only to attain more humane treatment for animals, but also to include species other than human beings within the moral community by giving their basic interests—for example, the interest in avoiding suffering—the same consideration as those of human beings. The claim is that animals should no longer be regarded legally or morally as property, or treated as resources for human purposes, but should instead be regarded as persons. 
      Humans Manifesto. Quoted from the Wikipedia page “Animal Rights”.

      The cult of Done Manifesto

      Bre Pettis and Kio Stark
      01 There are three states of being.
      Not knowing, action and completion.
      02 Accept that everything is a draft.
      It helps to get done.
      03 There is no editing stage.
      04 Pretending you know what you’re doing 
      is almost the same as knowing what you 
      are doing, so just accept that you know 
      what you’re doing even if you don’t
      and do it.
      05 Banish procrastination. If you wait more
      than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
      06 The point of being done is not to finish but
      to get other things done.
      07 Once you’re done you can throw it away.
      08 Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps
      you from being done. 
      09 People without dirty hands are wrong.
      Doing something makes you right.
      10 Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
      11 Destruction is a variant of done. 
      12 If you have an idea and publish it on the 
      internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
      13 Done is the engine of more.

      Manifesto Generator - Filip Tyden & Gemma Holt
      One of the 18 million possible manifestos.
      01 Whisper

      02 Think more, make more

      03 Only use black

      04 Don’t make compromises for other people

      05 Learn to speak up

      06 Everything is going to be alright

      07 Engage a specialist audience

      08 Call your grandparents today

      09 Good design is not invisible

      10 A manifesto is a formula

      Otherwise forget it - Bob Gill
      The audience for graphic design is the same audience that will have seen the latest alien movie and the hottest music video with special effects that are absolutely dazzling. How can a graphic designer compete with this magic? We don’t have the technology or the budgets, or the time. If we want to attract attention to our work, we have to go to the other extreme. We have to go to reality! We must take a careful look at the real world and, in effect, say to our audience, “Look! have you ever noticed this before? Even though it was right under your nose.” That, to me, is more exciting than the most amazing special effects. And there’s another thing about the situation today that graphic designers must recognize. Before computers, the production of printed matter was in the hands of designers and printers. Most clients had only the vaguest idea how it was produced. And they were prepared to pay well for their logos, newsletters, brochures and other business paper.

      Now, for very little money, it’s possible to buy a program which allows anyone with a computer to produce most of the stuff for the average business. The mystique has finally gone out of ordinary design and print. These programs fit words and images into slick professional looking formats. And for low–end commercial needs, that’s perfectly fine. So, if a typist can do much of the work previously done by well–paid specialists, what’s left for the designer? Designers have to do things that a typist with a computer can’t do. This means that they have to be problem solvers, if they are to survive. And, unfortunately, thinking is not the designer’s first love. They love choosing colors, pushing type and shapes around, drawing in a particular style and imposing the latest graphic tricks on their next job, regardless of whether they are appropriate or not.

      They get these tricks from the culture. Most designers spend their time trying to emulate what’s supposed to be hot, what’s current, what’s trendy. But just think, if we want to do something the computer in the hands of a non–designer can’t do, something that’s original, how can we rely on what the culture tells us? (The culture tells all of us the same thing.) 

      A few mega–corporations inflict this culture on us. Their virtual monopoly of TV, fashion, pop and rock‘n’roll music, cable, theatre, magazines and film, etc., is designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator which, in turn, allows them to merchandise the most stuff: Obama action figures and Kelly Clarkson t–shirts, for example. Of course, the establishment allows just enough high culture to prove that they’re not only Philistines. How can you extricate yourself from this avalanche of white–bread, so that you can be an original thinker? First purge your mind of as much cultural baggage as possible. When you get a job, regardless of how familiar the subject, resist any temptation to think you know enough about it, and that you’re ready to design. Assume that all of the information and imagery was supplied by the culture, that none of the information or imagery is original.

      Research the subject as if you know nothing about it. And don’t stop until you have something interesting, or even better, something original to say. That’s the most likely way of producing an original image. The design process can begin only after you are satisfied with the statement. Listen to the statement. It will design itself. Well, almost. As there are trillions of images assaulting your audience, competing for their attention, the least you can do is not have the words and images in your design competing with each other. Take a statement like, “we cure cancer for one dollar.” It isn’t necessary to make those words look interesting. They are interesting. If you try to make interesting words look interesting, the way they look competes with their meaning. Also. if you want to draw attention to an interesting image, the words that accompany it shouldn’t be unusual. Design is problem–solving. Most designers are not very interested in problem–solving. They’re more interested in producing work that looks good. That’s like the mathematician who, before knowing the problem, knows that the answer is 128. Designers who know their solution must consist of lots of white space, and a particular typeface, etc., before they know the problem, are just like the mathematician who knows that the answer is 128. What is good design is what communicates best in an original way, even though it doesn’t conform to our preconceptions of good design. No image or color or typeface is always good or always bad. What makes it good is if it’s the best image or color or typeface that says exactly what you want to say. Otherwise forget it. All the best. Bob Gill

      10 things i have learnt in my life - Milton Glaser
      1 You can only work for people that you like. This is a curious rule and it took me a long time to learn because in fact at the beginning of my practice I felt the opposite. Professionalism required that you didn’t particularly like the people that you worked for or at least maintained an arms length relationship to them, which meant that I never had lunch with a client or saw them socially. Then some years ago I realised that the opposite was true. I discovered that all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client. And I am not talking about professionalism; I am talking about affection. I am talking about a client and you sharing some common ground. That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with the client, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle.

      02 If you have a choice never have a job. One night I was sitting in my car outside Columbia University where my wife Shirley was studying Anthropology. While I was waiting I was listening to the radio and heard an interviewer ask “Now that you have reached 75 have you any advice for our audience about how to prepare for your old age?” An irritated voice said “Why is everyone asking me about old age these days?” I recognised the voice as John Cage. I am sure that many of you know who he was—the composer and philosopher who influenced people like Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham as well as the music world in general. I knew him slightly and admired his contribution to our times. “You know, I do know how to prepare for old age” he said. “Never have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age. For me, it has always been the same every since the age of 12. I wake up in the morning and I try to figure out how am I going to put bread on the table today? It is the same at 75, I wake up every morning and I think how am I going to put bread on the table today? I am exceedingly well prepared for my old age” he said.

      03 Some people are toxic, avoid them. This is a subtext of number one. There was in the sixties a man named Fritz Perls who was a gestalt therapist. Gestalt therapy derives from art history, it proposes you must understand the ‘whole’ before you can understand the details. What you have to look at is the entire culture, the entire family and community and so on. Perls proposed that in all relationships people could be either toxic or nourishing towards one another. It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: you have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.

      04 Professionalism is not enough or the good is the enemy of the great. Early in my career I wanted to be professional, that was my complete aspiration in my early life because professionals seemed to know everything —not to mention they got paid for it. Later I discovered after working for a while that professionalism itself was a limitation. After all, what professionalism means in most cases is diminishing risks. So if you want to get your car fixed you go to a mechanic who knows how to deal with transmission problems in the same way each time. I suppose if you needed brain surgery you wouldn’t want the doctor to fool around and invent a new way of connecting your nerve endings. Please do it in the way that has worked in the past.

      Unfortunately in our field, in the so–called creative—I hate that word because it is misused so often. I also hate the fact that it is used as a noun. Can you imagine calling someone a creative? Anyhow, when you are doing something in a recurring way to diminish risk or doing it in the same way as you have done it before, it is clear why professionalism is not enough. After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.

      05 Less is not necessarily more. Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realise that every part of that rug, every change of colour, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. “Just enough is more.”

      06 Style is not to be trusted. I think this idea first occurred to me when I was looking at a marvellous etching of a bull by Picasso. It was an illustration for a story by Balzac called “The Hidden Masterpiece”. I am sure that you all know it. It is a bull that is expressed in 12 different styles going from very naturalistic version of a bull to an absolutely reductive single line abstraction and everything else along the way. What is clear just from looking at this single print is that style is irrelevant. In every one of these cases, from extreme abstraction to acute naturalism they are extraordinary regardless of the style. It’s absurd to be loyal to a style. It does not deserve your loyalty. I must say that for old design professionals it is a problem because the field is driven by economic consideration more than anything else. Style change is usually linked to economic factors, as all of you know who have read Marx. Also fatigue occurs when people see too much of the same thing too often. So every ten years or so there is a stylistic shift and things are made to look different. Typefaces go in and out of style and the visual system shifts a little bit. If you are around for a long time as a designer, you have an essential problem of what to do. I mean, after all, you have developed a vocabulary, a form that is your own. It is one of the ways that you distinguish yourself from your peers, and establish your identity in the field. How you maintain your own belief system and preferences becomes a real balancing act. The question of whether you pursue change or whether you maintain your own distinct form becomes difficult. We have all seen the work of illustrious practitioners that suddenly look old–fashioned or, more precisely, belonging to another moment in time. And there are sad stories such as the one about Cassandre, arguably the greatest graphic designer of the twentieth century, who couldn’t make a living at the end of his life and committed suicide.

      But the point is that anybody who is in this for the long haul has to decide how to respond to change in the zeitgeist. What is it that people now expect that they formerly didn’t want? And how to respond to that desire in a way that doesn’t change your sense of integrity and purpose.

      07 How you live changes your brain. The brain is the most responsive organ of the body. Actually it is the organ that is most susceptible to change and regeneration of all the organs in the body. I have a friend named Gerald Edelman who was a great scholar of brain studies and he says that the analogy of the brain to a computer is pathetic. The brain is actually more like an overgrown garden that is constantly growing and throwing off seeds, regenerating and so on. And he believes that the brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have. I was fascinated by a story in a newspaper a few years ago about the search for perfect pitch. A group of scientists decided that they were going to find out why certain people have perfect pitch. You know certain people hear a note precisely and are able to replicate it at exactly the right pitch. Some people have relevant pitch; perfect pitch is rare even among musicians. The scientists discovered—I don’t know how—that among people with perfect pitch the brain was different. Certain lobes of the brain had undergone some change or deformation that was always present with those who had perfect pitch. This was interesting enough in itself. But then they discovered something even more fascinating. If you took a bunch of kids and taught them to play the violin at the age of 4 or 5 after a couple of years some of them developed perfect pitch, and in all of those cases their brain structure had changed. Well what could that mean for the rest of us? We tend to believe that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, although we do not generally believe that everything we do affects the brain. I am convinced that if someone was to yell at me from across the street my brain could be affected and my life might changed. That is why your mother always said, “Don’t hang out with those bad kids.” Mama was right. Thought changes our life and our behaviour. I also believe that drawing works in the same way. I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain in the same way as the search to create the right note changes the brain of a violinist. Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.

      08 Doubt is better than certainty. Everyone always talks about confidence in believing what you do. I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense.

      Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being sceptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between scepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one’s openness to the world as passionate belief is. They are sort of twins. And then in a very real way, solving any problem is more important than being right.

      There is a significant sense of self–righteousness in both the art and design world. Perhaps it begins at school. Art school often begins with the Ayn Rand model of the single personality resisting the ideas of the surrounding culture. The theory of the avant garde is that as an individual you can transform the world, which is true up to a point. One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty.

      Schools encourage the idea of not compromising and defending your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usually all about the nature of compromise. You just have to know what to compromise. Blind pursuit of your own ends which excludes the possibility that others may be right does not allow for the fact that in design we are always dealing with a triad—the client, the audience and you.

      Ideally, making everyone win through acts of accommodation is desirable. But self–righteousness is often the enemy. Self–righteousness and narcissism generally come out of some sort of childhood trauma, which we do not have to go into. It is a consistently difficult thing in human affairs. Some years ago I read a most remarkable thing about love, that also applies to the nature of co–existing with others. It was a quotation from Iris Murdoch in her obituary. It read “Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real.” Isn’t that fantastic! The best insight on the subject of love that one can imagine.

      09 On aging. Last year someone gave me a charming book by Roger Rosenblatt called “Ageing Gracefully” I got it on my birthday. I did not appreciate the title at the time but it contains a series of rules for ageing gracefully. The first rule is the best. Rule number one is that “it doesn’t matter.” “It doesn’t matter what you think. Follow this rule and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late or early, if you are here or there, if you said it or didn’t say it, if you are clever or if you were stupid. If you were having a bad hair day or a no hair day or if your boss looks at you cockeyed or your boyfriend or girlfriend looks at you cockeyed, if you are cockeyed. If you don’t get that promotion or prize or house or if you do—it doesn’t matter.” Wisdom at last.

      Then I heard a marvellous joke that seemed related to rule number 10. A butcher was opening his market one morning and as he did a rabbit popped his head through the door. The butcher was surprised when the rabbit inquired “Got any cabbage?” The butcher said “This is a meat market—we sell meat, not vegetables.” The rabbit hopped off. The next day the butcher is opening the shop and sure enough the rabbit pops his head round and says “You got any cabbage?” The butcher now irritated says “Listen you little rodent I told you yesterday we sell meat, we do not sell vegetables and the next time you come here I am going to grab you by the throat and nail those floppy ears to the floor.” The rabbit disappeared hastily and nothing happened for a week. Then one morning the rabbit popped his head around the corner and said “Got any nails?” The butcher said “No.” The rabbit said “Ok. Got any cabbage?”

      10 Tell the truth. The rabbit joke is relevant because it occurred to me that looking for a cabbage in a butcher’s shop might be like looking for ethics in the design field. It may not be the most obvious place to find either. It’s interesting to observe that in the new AIGA’s code of ethics there is a significant amount of useful information about appropriate behaviour towards clients and other designers, but not a word about a designer’s relationship to the public.

      We expect a butcher to sell us eatable meat and that he doesn’t misrepresent his wares. I remember reading that during the Stalin years in Russia that everything labelled veal was actually chicken. I can’t imagine what everything labelled chicken was.

      We can accept certain kinds of misrepresentation, such as fudging about the amount of fat in his hamburger but once a butcher knowingly sells us spoiled meat we go elsewhere. As a designer, do we have less responsibility to our public than a butcher?

      Everyone interested in licensing our field might note that the reason licensing has been invented is to protect the public not designers or clients. ‘Do no harm’ is an admonition to doctors concerning their relationship to their patients, not to their fellow practitioners or the drug companies. If we were licensed, telling the truth might become more central to what we do.

      miura MANIFESTO
      This is a public declaration to our clients, colleagues, family and friends & and anyone who comes across our work.


      To ourselves, to our clients and to the graphic design projects we work on. Honesty is not always welcome, but the least we can do is to tell it how it is.


      This is the time when that extra polish can make the difference between a good piece of design and a great one. We will go the extra mile, whether it is a website design, an online advertisement, or a brochure design, or a direct marketing piece.


      We'll put it on the back boiler for a while and get a coffee or tea. That's because, it's usually when your mind is not forced into thinking about anything in particular that the best ideas surface.


      The best graphic design has a sense of self. We'll engender our projects with the necessary and right amount.


      Time is precious. Many think they do not have time to work things out properly, make decisions or go for lunch. We'll make time. We like to allow clients the luxury of time to give a considered response to our work. We feel it's better to get a real constructive response than one born under pressure.


      We always say it like it is. And say it simply. Jargon is for people that don't know what they are talking about or feel they have to add gloss to their case.

      To keep things simple.

      A strong graphic design concept or strategic delivery is always best when done simply and elegantly.


      Whether it's to understand a brief, an idea or a new product, we'll ask questions. These are the key to the right solutions and the only way forward.


      Ideas can come from anywhere. Whenever they do, allow them to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead. (This isn't our idea, thanks Bruce Mau).


      Curiosity is growth. Growth is creative.


      To create design our clients can be proud of. We will produce work we would happily show the people we most respect and are closest to.


      Pencils generate ideas, software assists design.


      The process is just as important as the results. Feel good about the process, it will improve the design.


      And only the right solution.


      We will do what is right not what is fashionable.


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