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Sometimes you come across things that have been around for a while that are still relevant today. Keith Yamashita’s small book Fifteen Things Charles and Ray Teach Us is one of them. Charles and Ray Eames shared a belief that design could improve people’s lives, and this remains their greatest legacy. The book was published in 1999 but the suggestions remain simple and brilliant.
- Keep good company. Build relationships with influential people. Gain not just their company, but their trust and respect.
- Notice the ordinary. Look around you. The wonderful mysteries of life are in your path throughout the day.
- Preserve the ephemeral. Collect moments that would otherwise slip away. You can do this with photos, letters, or keep items from special occasions.
- Design not for the elite, but for the masses. The most successful companies create things that people use every day.
- Explain it to a child. Simple is best.
- Get lost in the content. This is about passion and curiosity. If you want to know about something, seek to learn everything about it.
- Get to the heart of the matter. Be upfront and honest. There is no prize for beating around the bush.
- Never tolerate “O.K. anything.” Aim for quality. Demand it of yourself and expect it from the people who work with you.
- Remember your responsibility as a storyteller. Design is about conveying a story. Don’t get so lost in what you are doing and forget about the story.
- Zoom out. Take a moment to reflect on the relative size of things to the scope of the universe.
- Switch. Never get bored. Why limit yourself to one or two things? Expand your horizons. Do more.
- Prototype it. Test your ideas. The easiest way to do this is to speak to a close confident about it.
- Pun. Revolution starts with language. Words are one of the most important tools of communication. Learn to use them for impact, but also make it fun.
- Make design your life (and life, your design). Charles and Ray truly believed that design is a worthy profession that can bring good to people’s lives.
- Leaving something behind. Realize that you have a legacy. What will your mark be?