We are all Designers


At this time of year (the first week of January) we are all staring down the length of a year-long journey.

I don't know about you, but I'm filled with questions.

Some will be looking for work, others will be returning to their jobs — whilst others will be returning to the businesses the run.

We set goals. We create visions in our minds of how our lives will be shaped throughout the year and what they will look like at the same time next year.

Yesterday (the first day of 2018) I stopped and thought through these very things for myself. I asked myself some questions:

"What type of person do you want to be? At work, at home and amongst friends? Amongst colleagues and everyone else?"

"Who are you?"

I asked "What are you? — what do you do? — why do you do it?"

I began my career as a Designer — I explored many areas of the field, from illustration to publishing, art direction, the direction and design of interfaces and digital products which formed the formative part of my career. I then began to design products, ideas, teams, a few businesses and strategies for large corporate clients.  (Yes, you can design a strategy.)

I've worked in many roles throughout my career and have experienced many things. I've failed — as a good Designer should‚ and I've learned just as much. I've pushed against the grain and challenged the status quo.

One of my greatest inspirations, Carl Sagan once said, "We are all made of star stuff." Meaning, inherently, we as humans are all the same. 

So, we too as Creative Leaders are all Designers of some kind. Deep down we all blend the making with the solving. The problem with the craft. The sense of discovery with rigour and process. And some of us even blend empathy with impact. 

Amongst the other questions yesterday, I asked myself, "What type of Designer do you want to be?"

I asked myself these questions and provoked myself to answer truthfully — trying to move beyond my initial thoughts and gut reactions. The superficial answers which we all seem to spew out when we're confronted with questions such as these.

I sifted through my own bullshit answers and I realised that as I peeled the layers away, I came to my own truth. I realised that even as I learn new things, win in some areas and lose in others; that I will always be a Designer at heart. 

A creator of new things.

A maker and explorer.

A thinker and an innovator.

A problem solver.

A strategic designer.

A designer with purpose.

A father before anything else — and in itself a role that is very much a Designer at heart. A creator and nurturer of my children and an explorer and navigator within the relationship I have with my partner.

A Designer at heart.


Because I want to create my own path. I want to be the leader of my own destiny. The designer of my own life. My own career. My own craft. My own practice.

What kind of Designer are you?