Earlier this year the AIGA interviewed John C. Jay, Wieden+Kennedy’s executive creative director. He offered “10 Lessons for Young Designers”. I saved this list and revisited it recently. It seems especially appropriate at this time, as we consider the passing of the current year, and look ahead to self awareness and improvement as we embark on 2012. I believe this list is broader than its title, and is applicable not only to young designers, but to a person of any age or occupational discipline. We can all benefit from John’s words of wisdom.
1: Be authentic. The most powerful asset you have is your individuality, what makes you unique. It’s time to stop listening to others on what you should do.
2: Work harder than anyone else and you will always benefit from the effort.
3: Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture. Life is visceral.
4: Constantly improve your craft. Make things with your hands. Innovation in thinking is not enough.
5: Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to learn just how much you don’t know.
6: Being original is still king, especially in this tech-driven, group-grope world.
7: Try not to work for stupid people or you’ll soon become one of them.
8: Instinct and intuition are all-powerful. Learn to trust them.
9: The Golden Rule actually works. Do good.
10: If all else fails, No. 2 is the greatest competitive advantage of any career.
Best wishes for the New Year.