Begin Anywhere


“Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.”–Bruce Mau

Bruce Mau, the creative director of Bruce Mau Design, and the founder of the Institute without Boundaries, began writing “Incomplete Manifesto for Growth” in 1998.

The manifesto seems hardly incomplete as it addresses design from the outside to the core of the designer inside.

It gave me a creative boost as well as a sigh of relief–a refreshing, direct, no-nonsense insight into his design philosophy.

Designers will appreciate his ideas about failure, mistakes and accidents and how they can make you a better designer. He integrates the human spirit into design–design does not stand alone, it is a part of something much larger.

New and seasoned designers can benefit from his words of wisdom. He makes 43 points, each weighty and worthy of putting into daily practice.

Here are just a few.

Allow events to change you.
You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

Forget about good.
Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

Process is more important than outcome.
When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

Go deep.
The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

For the full manifesto visit brucemaudesign.


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