Designful life

Hero's adventure to becoming an artist

You do not think your thoughts, you think your culture thoughts. — Gregory Bateson

Maybe the solution is this thing called a designer lifestyle; low commitment ludic discipline / lifestyle. You have to question what you love to do again and what you are less inclined to do. There are questions you should avoid as well such as "what is my style".

How do we ask better questions and address our needs? How can we create something that people do not know that they wanted eg.Spotify, iPod, iPhone, facebook,

Keywords: precision of language, specific, succinct, positioning, reframing, lifestyle, consistency?

Discovering ourselves

Thought patterns

  • I am not good enough

  • I do not think I am worth that much / I'm asking too much

Possible thoughts

  • I do not have a style

  • I do not know what to make

  • I do not know what I am trying to say

  • Overwhelmed by creatives on social media

  • I don't want to commit to anything because what if it goes wrong

  • I cannot see how I How does have a style brings value to my portfolio and creative career?

We are more concerned with aesthetics than how things look then how things performed hence form over function.

Questions we might be ask ourselves

  • What is perceived as effective when measuring a creative's skillset

  • What are you interested in and curious about?

  • What do you love and are passionate about?

  • What keeps you up at night?

Symptoms: tense / grip in my heart / demotivated / frustrated / overwhelmed by people's success on social media

Define finding a style does not really excite me > what's the point? It does not do anything. I would like a problem to solve. For most part of my life, I have been a thinker and builder ; not much of a maker. my talent is consistency; small things done daily

exit: ⌘↩

My problem that I always fall into is identifying myself with a conventional motion designer that are characterized by illustrative, geometric, smooth motion, 3D visual language. However, I am not inclined to do those things even if I can do it

So the bigger question that oyu

Develop when I was showering, i caught myself thinking about expressions and using processing to enhance what I can do; doesn't that say a thing about my "style"

Deliver utilitarian x innovation (play) x user-centered design connecting dots and building relationships with diffent citizens

play×user centered design×curiosity×risk=innovationplay \times user\ centered\ design \times curiosity \times risk=innovation play×user centered design×curiosity×risk=innovation

List of Questions

These questions will serve as guide students to discover what they are truly after and afraid in the grand scheme of things.

Keywords: imposter syndrome, community of practice, social creatures

  • Art school?

    • why go to art school, why do anything?

    • what are you risking?

    • What are you expecting out of art school? A job or a more informed life experience?

  • Career

    • How do I get Company X to notice me?

    • How do I identify a trend and ride on it?

    • How do I design beyond trend?

  • Defining our expectations

    • What are your priorities?

    • How do we get better as a designer?

    • How can we develop a lifestyle that develops our creativity?

    • What is creativity to you ? What is success to you?

    • How can let go of work-life balance and think about work-life integration

    • the bifurcation of work and leisure is a construct

  • Discussion

    • what are your takeaways from the discover

    • what did you discover today?

    • What do you not know?

    • What you do you think needs more investigation?

    • What personal biases / prejudices / general notion / commonly believed belief / axiom needs a better thorough observation and analysis? What illusions do you believe in?

Evaluating company

do you have work-life balance?
do you have autonomy and control over the creative project?

Develop - Methodologies

Company of One

what is growth to you?
what automation or technology can you use to scale without scaling your business?
`Metrics & Data`
social media
if you have people going to your website, what do you want them to see? for hire?

Youtube Creator

exit: ⌘↩

What is your mission
how frequent do you post
expectation of growth?
what is success to you ?


exit: ⌘↩

`Our Work`
Do you have a set of rules for success in audience participatory projects?
Have we been more liberated by the changes in technology?
If graphic design works as a visual language, can trends enrich the design?
How and why did you start to make furniture?
How would you describe yourself as a designer?
`Brands and branding`
What do you mean by a human approach in design – and why this approach is so important?
In case of Rolling Stones and many others (the most delicate is Rem Kolhaas's Casa de Musica) you often have to create identity for things that already have identity. How to do balance your input and the existing history?
Describe one experience creating a flexible identity for a client.
Can you tell me more about what your views are on the importance of branding?
Can you explain the new EDP identity in three adjectives?
`About Inspiration`
Can you share some surprising places you look for inspiration?
How do you go about inspiration/having ideas?
What inspires you at the moments of creation?
What do you feel is the biggest block to your creativity?
How do you fight boredom in your work and is it really the greatest designer's challenge as you once said – not to get bored?
`Advice for students`
Is it possible to have both, making money and doing good work?
Who inspired you when you were developing your practices as a student, and who inspires you today?
"What would you do if you were a senior graphic design student at college or university?
What advice would you give to designers who are looking for more happiness in their daily lives?
When you hire someone at Sagmeister & Walsh, how much does a person’s happiness affect the outcome?
`Type and Typography`
Your handwriting is very distinctive. Do you consider it to be a typeface?
The series "Things I have learned in my life so far" is a typographical experiment. How does typography influence the transmission of the message?
How do you decide when to use a typeface and when to use handwriting?
`Running the Studio`
Do you turn away projects?
Many of your protégés have gone off and created their own successful firms. Is it hard to keep good talent?
Was your studio successful straight from the start or did the number of your contract jobs increase only slowly?
What’s the best part about maintaining a small agency?
You've done some juicy promotions through the years, including bearing yourself for the world to see. What motivates this? What do you hope the result to be?
`The Industry`
Does graphic design still have national traditions in different countries?
How important is formal design education?
What's your favorite design city, and why?
What is it like to work in the context of the USA?
To what extent has the Mac influenced Graphic Design?
`Design for Music`
How has your working relationship with David Byrne and Brian Eno changed over the years?
I know that you stopped doing graphics for bands, did you become disillusioned with the industry in general?
You started your career around the field of the music, has it influenced the rest of your work?
The LP has come back in these days. Are you interested in designing vinyl? If so, whom would you like to work with?
What music do you listen to the most these days? I'm also curious to hear your thoughts on today's pop music.
How are design and happiness related?
Can a design product make someone happier?
Tell me about the film you are making.
What do you hope people get out of the Happy Show?
What makes you laugh the hardest?
`Personal Questions`
What's the biggest professional risk you've taken? How old were you?
Why did you feel you needed to take a sabbatical?
Where/how do you think you need to grow still?
Do you still learn new things?
Is pain and struggle a necessary path to true creation and personal satisfaction? Even if you are not into S&M?
`Things I've Learned`
The series "Things I have learned in my life so far" is a typographical experiment. How does typography influence the transmission of the message?
Could you explain the purpose of the project "Trying to look good limits my life"?


Sample: How do we develop a healthy lifestyle?

  • D: How often do you snack? Do you live a sedentary lifestyle? Have you been exercising? How many hours do you sleep? What time do you go to bed?

  • S: *proceeds to defend his character by saying "he should exercise or do this or that"

  • D: I did not ask what you should do but what do you think of your lifestyle that you are living? What do you think would happen if you keep this up in a year or five or ten years. If you develop some health problems, what are the repercussions you will face? eg. prone to illness or diseases, incur high medical fees, who is going to pay for those fee? Who is going to take care of you? At what age do you expect to live until with this lifestyle?

  • D: Do you take your health seriously?

  • S: *will most probably say yes as an automatic response but does not realize the weight of the question

  • D: If you take it seriously, then why are you not doing anything about it? So let me ask you again: do you take your health seriously. If you do, what are you going to do about it?

  • S: * gives vague answers such as exercise or eating more vegetables

  • D: that's not good enough. How often are you going to exercise? What will you cut out of your diet? Most importantly, when will you start? How will you commit to what you say you will do. What happens if you do not do what you set yourself out to do.

  • S: *answers "tomorrow"

The next day (scenario: S did not follow up what he promised)

  • D: how goes your exercise / new lifestyle?

  • S: I did not do it

  • D: why not? You said you would do it. You can lie to me but do not lie to yourself. The end.

🌱 How do we get inspired consistently or fuel our imagination?

What are your intentions for getting inspired?

  • I want to get better at my craft by making innovative design solutions or aesthetics

  • it's part breaking new ground and also developing a healthy consistent "diet"

exit: ⌘↩

  1. look elsewhere where no one is looking - avoid homogenization

    • look at sth you never usually do - random point of departure

  2. look deeper and observe

    • Rather than relying serendipty to find new sources, focus deeply on a single subject matter or artist. Being more informed than others is definitely better than being an amalgamation of random things.

  3. Ask yourself what are you curious about






GooglePinterestBehance Social MediaMotionographerForeign


BooksMagazines Fine art paintingsArtistsHistorical artists


  • Shorts

    • Youtube - Playlists

  • Examine your favorite directors, studios, artists, designers

  • Whatever that piques your interest

  • Watch tutorials

  • Film-making

  • Dailies

  • Collaboration

  • Teaching

How can we get "motivated" / get started on personal projects?

The author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on motivating others:"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast endless sea."Source: James Clear / Citadelle

  • Personal projects

    • Why do you want to do personal projects?

    • What are you expecting out these personal projects?

      • of course we want to get better but what would be a tangible result of success? How do you quantify and measure your success?

    • You said you have been wanting to do personal projects for awhile now. How much time can you commit each week/day?

  • What is the first thing you will work on when you get this creative personal time?

  • When will you start?

  • Freelancing

    • what do you know about freelancing? Invoice , contracts , payment methods , how to get consistent leads , how will you grow your business, communicating with clients?

How do you get better at what you do?

exit: ⌘↩

Learning to become a better artist is no different from training yourself to be an athlete. We can see creativity as a muscle to be trained and strengthen with a well-planned consistent 'workout' routine.

  • Teach - teaching is learning something twice

How do we step out of our comfort zones to make something new?

Get uncomfortable - Make 5 variables you are uncomfortable with eg, time, tools, colors, subject matter, typeIntroduce one of them as a constraint in your next project eg. you cannot use the same typeface that you always do; try something differentDo a master copy - Copy a design that you love to learn a new visual vocabularyMatthew Encina Copywork Challenge

Comfort breakdown




Visual language

photorealism, hand-drawn drawing

abstract, minimalist, suprematism, Memphis, bauhaus, constructivism, glitchy


videography, 3D, cel animation, fabrication, drawing & painting, character animation, sculpting, photo-bashing, hand-lettering, collage, illustration

type, teaching, expressions, shape animation, scripting & programming

Subject matter


broadcast, sacred geometry, visionary & mysticism, nature, mathematics


Rhythm, funk

structure, simplicity

  • Remember to be able to discern being interested in what you see but uncomfortable in making them

Recommended readings

Rest / Creative Sabbatical

I recently got reminded by Stefan Sagmeister and his creative sabbatical in which he takes a year off every 7 years of working. It got me thinking about how we can do a micro-version of this practice by taking the last week of the month off. That means not doing dailies, not watching tutorials or anything creatively strenuous. Perhaps take stock of where you are and what you have done for the month. Evaluate, plan and execute.

One thing to note about Sagmeister's practice is that he planned thoroughly how he spend his sabbatical to learn and do his projects. (-Time Sensitive Podcast)

Developing filters

Vague things that employers say that do not bring insights



You have to be unique you have to work on portfolio we want a team player You need to get on social media we prefer to see someone who draws in their own style we only hire good people who are skills

how can you not be ordinary / stand out from the crowd?what has been overdone, what has notNews flash, everyone is unique and equipped with a distinct personality and a way of working. Do not confuse unique for innovation. what do you mean? Are you saying we focus on aesthetics / resume / website / quantity / quality?what should I focus on my portfoliohow should I structure my websitewhat has been overdonewhat is effective is getting noticed?how I should document my process? what values do you see want why? How can you demonstrate consistency efforts on a platform to show what if the employer does not like your "style"what can you bring to the table and what can you add to the table talent as a prerequsite for companies that pushes innovation and boundariesn

The questions to all these statements would be "who doesn't". The problems with the people on the top is how they often described how they reached success in broad loose terms with no clear actionable plan. It is fine to talk in terms as long as enough context is built with case studies or personal anecdotes. There is no one size-fit-all answer. Answers are going to change for person to person. It starts with diagnosing our needs and investigating our wants, and developing a bridge between those two.

  • What do you need right now?

  • Where do you want to work ?

  • Who do you want to work for?

  • When do you plan to achieve what you set yourself out to do?

  • What risks can I take right now?

  • what is best fit for you instead of aiming what people deemed best ?

  • what are my expectations of myself or ...?

  • what is success to me?

  • Company

    • How do you positioning yourself as outstanding way compared to locals The work is important but it's also how you communicate about your work, strategies, ideas, how you defend them

    • contribute to company to make their decision process different. honest about vales giving upfront

    • Do I need to work in big studios? if so why?

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