As we went into our third and final year of University we were told we had to define ourselves, to set ourselves a manifesto and a set of rules to which we abide when we work. With these rules we had to create a series of posters that visualised these rules. Through a process of refinement I whittled a large list of possibilities down to just 11, we were meant to only have 10 but that’s the point of the last rule. I have included them at the end as a reference. I’m constantly evolving but I find these 11 statements of intent still hold true. Some are a bit contentious, such as the first and the sixth rule but that doesn’t make them any less true to me.
What I enjoyed most about this project however was the supporting poster work. We were only asked to produce 3-5 A2 posters but I found the process so much fun that I created a poster for the entire series. At the time I was reading Stefan Sagmeister’s ‘Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far’ and was enticed by the idea of physically recreating my rules in much the same way that Sagmeister did for each of his lessons. I was especially interested in 3D non-digital typography and I wanted to create an installation out of each rule in its appropriate location.
It’s strange that I decided to pursue one of the most time consuming ideas I’ve had when I was only given two weeks to finish the project but I found the whole process enjoyable; cutting out letters, experimenting with different locations and taking the photos. I particularly enjoyed the reaction by the fine art students when I stuck a few bits of paper over their studio sign so that it read ‘design is art with a purpose’. I hear some of them had a meeting about that and were quite annoyed, oops. The sixth rule doesn’t literally mean steal anything you like it’s a homage to the Jean-Luc Godard quote “it’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to”.
The ten rules
1. Design is art with a purpose.
2. Touch can never be replaced.
3. Design is in the detail.
4. Be colourful, but not for the sake of it.
5. Hard work pays its own dividends.
6. Steal from everywhere.
7. Seek criticism and be nice about it.
8. The best ideas come at night.
9. Always take down notes.
10. Don’t design for the money.
11. Break the rules.