A manifesto: what a peculiar word that really does not come up in common conversation these days, at least not in mine. Because I was not exactly familiar with it I decided to do a little digging discover more. Within a very short amount of time I was pleasantly surprised to learn of Apple’s famous ad from 1997, “Here’s To The Crazy Ones.” This ad ultimately became Apple’s manifesto, summarized as “think different.” But what they said in the 60 second commercial was what stood out to me most. While showing images of famous people who have accomplished various great things, the narrator says,
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Apple’s manifesto and toast to the crazy ones really struck me. This is precisely how I view design! Allow me to explain…
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
I often feel like in the real world surrounded by businessmen and women, in a world with the left-brained people who love numbers and facts and statistics, I do not belong. I have a brain that detests numbers and math. But my brain and my heart come alive when art, design, photography, or any kind of visual comes into play. While I often felt weird and different growing up I now understand that I simply see things differently. This is a huge part of design – to have new eyes, to gain new perspectives, to see what we never saw before, or to help others see what they never saw before. To be a designer you do need to be different. You need to be comfortable with not fitting in. With going outside the typical boxes the world likes to place us in. We NEED to be a round peg that doesn’t fit in the square hole if we want to think different.
They’re not fond of rules.
We may not like strict rules or heavy limitations that seem to crush our creativity, but we actually do need rules. These are rules we have learned the past three years, rules to better us and shape us. But in reality, we are actually learning design rules so that we can eventually become good enough to break them. To do something no one has ever done before. So rules are both great and detrimental, and it is up to the designer to learn to balance keeping them and breaking them to express great design.
And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
This goes along with the rules. We are created to follow and to break them, but we certainly don’t want to simply go with the trends of the world, the status quo. To only imitate what others have done and is trendy now is to forget our own passion and creativity, to forget the talent we ourselves possess. Design is about going above and beyond, going where no one has gone before. But perhaps it takes some slight imitation to get there, because to not imitate anyone or anything at all ever is nearly impossible. There are constant references to others’ work all throughout design, but it is what the designer chose to change or make different that sets them apart, and ultimately makes us unable to be ignored.
Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Change. Create. New. Push. Forward. We as designers are made to shake things up, to resist going with the flow. This is precisely what “think different” is all about. If it was “think the same” we would not have hundreds of thousands of typefaces to choose from. We would not have different styles of design and schools of thought to study. It is rooted in us as designers to change, to create, to think of things never done before. And ultimately, because of our desire for change and new creations, we do end up pushing forward. We push forward new methods, new styles, new trends, new colors. We were designed to be bold and daring in all that we do.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
People may not think of designers as changing the world. Instead people look to those in science and medicine and business to be world changers. But they forget how powerful an idea is. An idea that possesses a visual, a work of art, a design. Take the iconic image of the Eiffel Tower in a circle that abstractly represented a peace sign when Paris was bombed by terrorists last November. While this design did not provide aid physically to France and everyone else impacted by the terrorism, it provided unity. It gave people a way to express their thoughts and prayers for Paris during the difficult time. It was a design that brought people together, with millions using it on social media to declare where their hearts were. This design was simply created by a man who was trying to come to terms with what happened, and this drawing was his result. He had no idea the impact it would suddenly have and the meaning it gave so many people, but nonetheless, his design did, in fact, change the world.
As I watched this ad from Apple I felt myself nodding along fiercely, agreeing fervently with everything the narrator said. I felt passionate and excited because I recognized this spirit of creativity, and I felt that everything he said was true also to designers. This has become my design manifesto.