10 Lessons for young designers

These are some insightful and thought-provoking lessons from Wieden+Kennedy’s Executive Creative Director, John C Jay: 10 Lessons for young designers.

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.


(via johnmaeda, via Edwin Himself)

33 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Great article.

    I would add:

    Learn about the business of what you do. Being profitable and doing what you love eg Design is the best thing ever! win win!

  2. Such good advice! I am taking this all to heart and getting off my computer right now!

  3. Work harder than anyone else and you will always benefit from the effort. (2) will always get you where you want to be,

  4. profound!

  5. number 7 should be number 1.

  6. “It’s time to stop listening to others on what you should do.” Great advice until you end up at W+K and try to do your own thing, i.e the thing they hired you for.

  7. yes, number 7 in bold please ;-)

  8. Great advice. You really can’t go TOO wrong if you follow this list.

  9. Great. I personally enjoyed no. 7 :)

  10. Work *smarter* than other people – long hours for their own sake not a good idea. Know why you’r doing what you do.

    Also – remember the 7th Habit (from Covey’s book)

    “sharpen the saw”

    You need downtime to recharge and assimilate new things, make sure you take it or you will burn out.

  11. seems to be so simple

  12. Nice post!!, specially rule number 7

  13. great post! so true number 7!

  14. Awesome, love number 6! Individuality is what makes people and things interesting!

  15. Inspiring …The journey of knowing ourselves as the unique individual and designer. Spirituality+Design+Business at it’s best.

  16. Good Article! I enjoy lesson #4 because a great imagination can be found only doing creative things.

  17. to me number 3 is so very important and I know that I don’t do enough of it!

  18. Wise words…but I would add to that list.

    11. A good sense of morality when working in advertising and design.

  19. Read the AC Graying article in Creative Review on the issues of morality in advertising and design.

    Exceedingly interesting to anyone in the industry.

  20. I’ve always been a fan of John Jay…he’s never failed to inspire! Thank you for posting it.

  21. Fantastic list.

    about n.7: I have to confess that I work with stupid people & strugle everyday not to become like them :s

  22. I would like to add: Always keep learning and empowering yourself. Even through mistakes, look for the lesson.

  23. Great Post ! making me introspect at all levels !

  24. Wise words. A good, succinct reminder of things we hear matter … they really do!

  25. Thanks for the great advice. Good words to live by!

  26. Amen to all in the list. This is truly inspiring. While the things mentioned in this list are all nothing new, it is reading again as it reminds us all about these wonderful things we need to follow in life.

  27. thanks so much!

  28. Must get out more and apply #3

  29. I would like to say that I just love #_, but I would have to list them all. So simple, so true. Now to follow his advice…

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