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chris pullman's top 9

[image credit: AIGA website]

Last night Christopher Pullman gave a lecture at DAAP. It was really a story about his life, how he got from being a cub scout to being an art director at PBS. He talked for an hour and a half, and ended with his top nine tips for life. Here they are, for anyone who missed the talk:

1. Work on things that matter
>As a graphic designer, Pullman spent a large chunk of his time working for PBS, essentially a not-for-profit. He worked on spreading education and information instead of spreading advertising.

2. Work with people you like and respect
> The idea here is that many people spend more time at work than at home. This means that you should like the people you are spending all that time with. Pullman showed his affection for his coworkers by making little gifts for them... first gingerbread cookies, then miniature water colors.

3. Have high standards
> Never adopt the 'dilbert' mentality. Pullman said that high standards should be held onto until the very end.

4. Have a sense of humor.
> "Even though we took the business very seriously, we didn't take ourselves too seriously."

5. Do a lot with a little
> Basically, use what you have to do as much as possible. See everything as an opportunity.

6. Theme and variation is our game
> This has to do with a family of form; as designers, we can make a group of things that relate to each other but are still different. This is one of our top skills, and we should use it.

7. Design is a way of thinking
> Designers are fueled by other people's problems as opposed to artists, who tend to be fueled by their own problems. Design is a way to solve problems that can be valuable to people outside the field.

8. Institutions have a persona too
> Every workplace has its own character that is a combination of the people and the business. It is important to find one you enjoy and can identify with.

9. You are what you eat
> Design is a business of relationships. You are as much a part of the equation as your work is.

I hope this gives some insight into the lecture... I would like to add my own bit of advice, too:
10. Go out and experience the world.
> When prolific individuals give lectures at school, the auditorium should be packed, even if it is 'hell week.' There is so much to be learned from people sharing their stories, and Chris Pullman's lecture goes to prove that. He touched on some elements of graphic design, but his message was more about leading a creative and engaging life. His visual presentation was compelling, and his verbal delivery was impressive. He talked for an hour and a half without once becoming flustered or talking too quickly. We could all learn something from that.