A manifesto for the rest of my career

Published 2013-04-15

I work for me, for now

I just got out of a long-term relationship. It was a good relationship but I’ve been single exactly one weekend. I won’t marry just anyone. I’m gonna date around a little. But if someone comes a-courtin’, I’ll listen. With intent.

Up or out

No more design jobs with “Senior” in the title. Either up to Design Director or Creative Director or UX Director. Or out to Developer or Engineer.

Never again

I want never to match a PMS color. I want never to give a fig about fonts. I want never to defend a gradient. I want never to pretend I know what’s happening at a press check. I design user experiences not movie posters.

Never say “never”

Of course I do give a fig about fonts but if I’ve learned one thing in the last fifteen years it’s that the wrong font won’t break the UX. It’s the Senior Designer’s job to care about the right font. I want to get that person’s back: either from above (“Design Director”) or below (“Engineer”). But I am done charging Over the Top into a project with the wrong font. (OK the font actually matters.)

Font gun for hire

Fine, fine...I know I’m good with fonts. If you need help with fonts, I can help with fonts.

The price of tomatoes

I’ve had the same freelance rate since 2005. I had the rate before that since 1999. I’m ten times smarter than I was eight years ago so a 15% price hike seems justified.

My “brand”

I’m given to understand freelancers need a brand. This is my brand:


These brand elements aren’t random. They have emotional resonance for me. I have no time for my brand and yet I know I will never stop tinkering with my brand. So: keep it simple, keep it personal. This is my brand. There are many others like it, but this one is mine.

I never wrote a career manifesto before

My career, two decades old now, Just Kind of Happened. I stumbled upward. The next thing was always the obvious thing. I was a Student and then I was an Archaeologist and then I was a Developer and then I was a Designer and then I was an Art Director and then I was a User Experience Designer and finally I was a Senior Designer.

I am an awesome Senior Designer. You could give me a coffee can full of unmarked bills to Design Seniorly and I would totally love it and you would get awesome Senior Designs. But Senior Designer is not my end-point. Up or out.