Andrew Howard | Primary Sources

A Manifesto for Higher Learning

1. No amount of ingenuity or creativity can create strong, clear, memorable design solutions from confused thought. This is why design is first and foremost a means of organising ideas. Design is thinking made visible.

2. Opinion is welcomed but is not enough. Your ideas must be substantiated through facts and testing, through research and evaluation.

3. Solutions will always vary according to context, interpretation and objectives. There are no absolute answers. Learn instead to ask the right questions.

4. Regardless of any specific design interest or preference that you may have, in today’s world all designers need to develop a multi-form understanding that is able to respond to multiple communication needs and platforms. Thus multimedia is not a component of contemporary design, it is its definition.

5. Beware of fashion – it encourages the idea that nothing is lasting and that you always have to be on the move. If you are never still you will never encounter profundity. Learn to stay in the same place and dig deeper.

6. Take nothing for granted. Learn to question what you think you know. Remember that the extraordinary is as likely to reside in the ground beneath our feet as in the stars above our heads. Your ability will not simply be measured by your willingness to explore new ideas and new territory but also through the ways that you are able to apply new ideas to familiar territory.

7. Critical thought being central to design does not make technical and craft skills secondary. Visual communication is not simply dependent on the power of thought. It is a process of making – of transforming ideas into tangible expressions. Thinking and making are not alternatives to each other. They are forces of reciprocal power within the design process. One cannot take place without the other.

8. Every tool has its own characteristics, every visual technique its own expressiveness, and every form its own possibilities and limitations. Your success is dependent on your ability to manipulate that knowledge with skill and sensibility. You must learn your craft.

9. Design does not exist solely in the realm of the intellect. The power to enlighten, to celebrate, to inform and to disturb expectations also lies in the capacity to make emotional connections. Always use your head but never forget your heart.

10. You cannot succeed without commitment. You cannot thrive without passion. You cannot survive without pleasure. All these things, or their absence, will be reflected in your work. The resonance of design as a collective social project is in your hands.

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