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Backwards advice from Mig Reyes

In honor of May’s theme, ‘Backwards,’ Mig Reyes spoke at our Chicago event, giving some backwards, or untraditional, advice. Here’s a recap:

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Burn your business cards. Mig points out that there’s an odd way we introduce ourselves in America, where we tend to lead with our title. “We define ourselves by what’s on this business card, this title, when really, we’re robbing ourselves of a lot of really great possibilities if we just forget about our title,” says Mig.

He tells us to consider ruining our business card, or at least losing it. No one will hire you to do the über-specific job-title you have already anyways, so don’t let it define you.

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Break things. “All your life we’re told to make things, maybe we should break them,” says Mig. He goes on to talk about his experience with humblepied.com, an initiative to capture great advice, all over iChat. In creating the website, he had to break a lot along the way.

Breaking things is dangerous, but that’s how you learn. Mig advises us to break things and take them apart.

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Make ugly things. “There’s this unhealthy obsession in design with making beautiful things,” he says. Citing the work of Jan Tschichold, Mig says that we’re taught how to design ‘well'—in the same vein as Jan, but what about the David Carsons? Where is the next generation of people making things ugly?

Making beautiful isn’t always the point. We shouldn’t be sticking to the safe groove of design we’re in; we should mix things up and make ugly.

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Spend less time on things. Here, Mig introduces us to a few ways he broke up his design routine by spending less time on things. Like making things ugly, spending less time allowed Mig to drop some of the pressure and responsibility of making something beautiful and time-intensive.

Layer Tennis proved to be a great way for Mig to flex those skills under a time crunch, playing the likes of Jessica Hische and other artist/designer extraordinaires.

Watch the talk here.

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