Make experiences, messages, and impressions that create a win for all people involved.
Everything comes at a cost, and true Creatives should face the scarcity of time, resources, and people’s attention with a sense of purpose. If there is something worth doing, it would be valuable to the creator, the consumer, and the person picking up the bill. It’s not a zero sum game, everyone can win. Align your interests with those your work will touch.
Create things that have more positive aspects than negative ones.
There are surely compromises to be made in all Creative work, especially when the work is commissioned. A product that adds delight and productivity into the world is far superior to a product that simply make money, a great product figures out how to do both. Don’t try and change the world all at once, just strive to make people’s lives a little bit better.
Surprise those who expect something less, delight those who weren’t expecting much.
Consumer expectations permeate all markets and are often beyond anyone’s direct control. If you create something beyond what the consumer was expecting, you engender user delight. People love brands that surpass expectations, and they tend to reward such experiences with future loyalty.
Do work that you can be proud of.
Make the kinds of things you’ll be proud to tell people about at parties. In the long run, it’s rewarding, and it can be good motivation when you are in the throes of the work.
Balance business needs with cleverness, effectiveness with artistic value.
Big ideas usually solve a problem with an elegant solution. Taking pride in the elegance of the solution is as important as solving the problem. It’s a fine line of course, because a clever solution that doesn’t address the objectives of the problem is also pretty worthless.
Values to Promote
Sense of Curation.
Give the user a sense that what they are consuming is the best of all possible choices and is worth their attention.
Communicate the relative importance of the product with design choices that are transparent and honest to the end-user. Earn the attention of the consumer by respecting them.
Force those who see your work to consider it through stark use of imagery, color, and layout.
Attend to the details of the smaller parts that make up the whole of the product, communicating quality to the user and giving weight to the importance of getting the details right.
Impress the user with unexpected features that go beyond their reasonable expectations, resulting in surprise, delight, and satisfaction.
Not be confused with plainness, a lack of complexity should be purposeful, a distillation of chaos achieved through uncompromising revision, and should result in valuation of the simplest form of an idea.
Convey relevance through design choices that reflect the new, acknowledge shifts in fashion without becoming a slave to them, and signal progression to the user without a gimmick.
To What End
+ For a personal sense of achievement and professional fulfillment.
+ To fund the lives of me and my family.
+ To improve the lives of the people who see or interact with my work.
I have never really thought of myself as a "designer", so when I was asked to produce a design manifesto this week, I was worried about having enough to fill a single page. Upon further reflection however, I was surprised to find that I had some strongly held design beliefs. Many of these beliefs come from my obsession with Apple, some of them come from my time studying advertising. But I think most of my beliefs about design come from my time on the internet.
It's amazing to consider where your sensibilities come from, because it makes you reflect on values that define your tastes and presences, values that undoubtedly also define who you are as a person.
Even if you aren't a self-ascribed "Creative" I encourage you to reflect on your design preferences, because you end up learning a lot more about yourself than you might think.