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What We Learned from Austin Kleon’s Book

First, we’d just like to say, WOW.

Kleon’s book was an awesome read for our design team. We were very impressed by everything from the layout to the practically included tips. If you are a creative, and you have not yet read this book get up and immediately get your own copy.

Here’s just a few top lessons we took away from this read.

  1. “Stuff worth stealing and stuff not worth stealing replaces good vs bad…as designers, we are free from the burden of being original.” Whew, this was a relief. We can give us our notions of being the first ever to create the best ever. Actually, we are very happy with this – all has already been done. We can just imitate now.

2. Artists are collectors, they selectively choose and keep the things they love. You’re only as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.” We appreciate the correction from the word “hoarders.” Also, the pat on the back for saving and reusing. Really, though we never considered how greatly the things we allow to envelop our creativity forms our work, either for the better or worst.

  1. Copy your heroes. “Our failure to copy our heroes is where we discover where our own thing lives.” “Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them.”

So, each of us, here on our design team, have heroes. But we never thought about how much they can and should inspire and push our work. The quality of our work can be determined by how well we imitate our heroes, how well we create something new and our own from what they’ve left us.

4. “Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run,play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to us—do the work you want to see done.” Kleon gave a personal experience of writing a movie sequel as a kid before it was released. He said he was heavily disappointed because when the movie did come out, it wasn’t anything like (or as good) as his story! He explained how people begin writing fan literature or designing based on inspiration from a movie, book or music. The possibilities are endless and everything you create can start from someone or something else—see point 1 again.;)

  1. In the digital age don’t forget to use your digits!” A quote included in the book by Lynda Barry, this reminds us that even though we are designers that daily use Photoshop and HTML, we shouldn’t forget the importance of our own creative process. And how that process doesn’t begin with the mouse and a new document, but rather our hands. The physical objects, the kinetic inspiration. We loved the suggestion Kleon has and uses himself, to have a analog and digital desk. We’ll have to work on finding space for this ourselves!


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