Friday, December 31, 2010

Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Back when I was a Communication Design student in Parsons, I had the amazing luck to have Michael Robinson as a professor for an Advance Design Studio class. He was, and probably still is, very much a cult teacher. Maybe misunderstood by a few, but certainly loved by everyone else! I first heard of Burning Man thanks to him, "Don't think about it, just go!" he would say to all of us. He also took our class one day to meet the artist Alex Grey at his NY gallery, COSM (Chapel of Sacred Mirrors). That was a  mind-bending trip of a class!

On the project front, well that was the coolest part. One was to design the entire corporate identity for a discount airline inspired by Pink Floyd's The Great Gig In The Sky! The U2 iPod had just come out, so another project was to design a Fashion [Designer] iPod: We had to choose between some cult names like Maison Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons and Jean Paul Gaultier (I forget the rest...). And my favorite one: To make 2 movie posters. One for Naked Lunch(1991) and the other for Crash (1996), both directed by David Cronenberg. And let me tell you one thing, these are certainly NOT the movies that your mamma would want you watching! These are complex, in your face, challenging stories. No Hollywood nonsense here. And again, I remember us watching them both together in class. Such a happy and confused bunch!

This is the poster that I designed for Crash
Not bad at all for student work ha?!

MR also used to bring a diverse selection of reading material for us to take away after every class. To create a context, to inspire, to instruct... You know, it doesn't really matter what software you're capable of using if you have no knowledge of visual (art, graphic design, fashion, etc...) history to reference in your work, no understanding of codes and concepts to play around with, and so on and so forth.

So I wanted to end 2010 with a very special 'printout' I got during that course, so many years ago. It is Bruce Mau's (He's a Graphic design Jedi Master if you must know...) Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. Whether you are a designer, or a creative of any kind, this manifesto might just turn into your new bible. Your credo. Your new 43 commandments. It's so simple, so true, so enlightening! 

Here is the original copy I got:
I taped it [back then] to the door of my NY apartment, 
so I could see it every day!
(Click on it, zoom it, and you'll see it)

N.  8

Allow yourself to wander aimlessly.
Explore adjacencies.
Lack judgment.
Postpone criticism

N. 37

And here is the link to the Bruce Mau Design website and the Manifesto, written in 1998. Incidentally, my Crash poster (above) was designed thanks to...

N. 18

Stay up late.
Strange things happen when 
you've gone too far, 
been up too long, 
worked too hard, 
and you're separated from 
the rest of the world

Have a great NYE, and may 2011 bring you all everything you wish for and much more!!

Lots of Love, D.


  1. Increible Denisse! No tenía idea de en lo que andabas (andas) metida. Super bien escrita tu nota y ni hablar de tu poster. Felicitaciones a montón y felicidades para el 2011

  2. Hola Enrique, muchísimas gracias! Y lo mejor para el próximo año : )

  3. Denisse,

    stumbled upon your blog - in love with it - definitely am a follower now It's so deliciously eclectic. How did you come up with such clever idea?

    Please don't stop.

    Happy New Year


  4. Hi Leon, thank you so much for the love : )

    Well I guess I'm pretty eclectic in my interests, and in that sense the blog is 100% me. But the idea has been developing organically. Learning as it goes.

    Thanks for the support. Best of luck for 2011 for you too!


  5. Hi Denisse, thank you for your article. Can you tell where does the b&w copy of Mau's Manifesto come from ? Is it the original copy published in I-D magazine in 1998 or another version from Mau ? Thank's in advance. Léonore

  6. Denisse,

    Thank you for your article.
    Can you tell where does the b&w copy of Mau's Manifesto come from ? Is it the original copy published in I-D magazine in 1998 or another one ?

    Thank's in advance.


    1. Hi Leonor, thank you for stopping by my old blog! I don’t know what the original Mau’s manifesto looked like, this is a copy I got while at College from my design professor.