Fill/Stroke.com

What mistakes have you made that you think others could learn from?

Aaron Horkey
Don’t under value your time as you’ll never get it back. Get it in writing. Don’t trust the “labor of love that will pay-off eventually” speech. Know copyright law. Don’t try a half cab flip right out the gate just because your high school crush happens to be watching - you will roll your ankle and end up in a shameful heap.

Adam Tickle
It is important not to rush into things and do not stick with what you know.

Adrian Shaughnessy
I’ve made hundreds of mistakes. The biggest mistake I made was that for a long time I thought it was the duty of the designer to educate clients about design. Wrong. It is the duty of designers to educate themselves about their clients. Then and only then can designers hope to be taken seriously be clients.

Andrew Blauvelt
Too many to list! More personal than professional. I try not to have many regrets when it comes to the work I produce.

Dan McCarthy
One time I printed 1,000 posters with the wrong information on it. This was one of the first print jobs. I was young and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. A proof approved by the client would have definitely helped. So I would tell others to always make proofs and have them approved.

Ed Fella
There are no mistakes. I worked in a period of history that was 50 years ago. Things are different now. People have to figure out how to navigate through their own time.

Eric Karjaluoto
I used to think that if I didn’t know the answer it somehow reflected negatively on my capabilities. Now I see that as a rather limiting perspective. In my mind I grow the most by acknowledging that I don’t need to have the answers; I just have to ask more of the right questions.

Evan Leake
Don’t be afraid to turn down a project if the client doesn’t “feel” right from the beginning. If anything sends up red flags, just do yourself a favor and kindly tell them you’re booked up.

Experimental Jetset
We made an awful lot of mistakes in our work, but we cannot really point out specific ones. Besides, maybe everybody should deal with mistakes in their own way. What we experience as a mistake doesn’t have to be a mistake for someone else.

What we can say is that mistakes are inevitable. Graphic design is always deadline-driven, so even when you are completely exhausted, feeling sick or slightly depressed, or simply without inspiration, there is still this huge pressure to deliver. What makes it worse is that, in graphic design, when you make mistakes, you make them in public. A poster that you weren’t really happy with will be hanging in the streets for weeks. A t-shirt that didn’t turn out very well will be hanging in the stores for months. Some images will be floating around on internet forever. Some designers are okay with that, and see all those little mistakes and quirks as a quality in itself. But we are neurotic perfectionists, so when we make a mistake, it really feels like one.

The only advice we can give is to keep on keeping on. Every new project is an opportunity to correct your last project. Every individual project will contain mistakes, but hopefully, when you see all the projects together, as one body of work, all those mistakes cross each other out. In that regard, a really good motto is this one by Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

FACE
Not trusting your ideas and instinct.

Flip Flop Flyin
Trying to be something I’m not. I can’t really help doing jolly or melancholy work, but if I want to do something “serious” it just doesn’t come out very good.

Friedrich-Wilhelm Graf
Quite a lot of them, but this is part of the process. Reflect the errors and take/make the best out of them.

Friendswithyou
Every moment in our history is riddled with mistakes that add to the overall experience. We couldn’t say don’t do this or that to help you skip steps and have a brighter and easier future because it doesn’t work like that. Each road and all mistakes are there for each person to make to define and create their personal experience with their work. Mistakes are the biggest part to solution building.

George Lois
Mistakes? Nothing should be regarded as a mistake! The cover of my first book is a visual of Michelangelo’s hand of God warning, or rather, admonishing me: “George Be Careful.” My mother told me to be careful, my father, my sisters, my teachers, my sports coaches, my officers when I was fighting in Korea, and everybody I’ve ever worked with in advertising – fellow workers, clients, everybody, warning me to be careful. But you can’t be careful and be great at anything. (And if you do make a so-called mistake, you must totally forget that it happened.) You can never “learn” from your mistakes – dwelling on them forces you to be “careful” – and that freezes you from coming up with what I call “seemingly outrageous” Big Ideas that can change the world.

Hula Hula
Not having enough confidence to sell an idea. A great percentage of being a designer is knowing how to sell your ideas to the client. Focus groups most of the time will destroy ideas that are radical and you end up doing lame stuff that “is proven to sell”.

Ian Stevenson
If you are trying to dry your clothes in a hurry don’t put them too close to a gas fire, they may burn.

Jeff Domke
I suffer from an enlarged ego gland which has caused me to make mistakes while working with others. For example, I have tried to convince other designers that I am right and they are wrong. That is always a mistake. Today, I try to take others journey with me, so that in the end, we all arrive at the same design destination. I’m a big supporter of mistakes. If I’m not making mistakes, I’m not growing, and if I’m not growing — what is the point?

Martin Anderson
Don’t ever think work/design is more important than having a good family.

Milton Glaser
Too many to enumerate.

Please Let Me Design
Lose time with bad clients. Lose money with bad clients.

Rick Valicenti
I wish I had found ways to collaborate with the worlds smartest and amazingly talented folks. I never held my self confidence high enough. It has only changed now that I am in my 50’s.

Wolfgang Weingart
I tried to do my best.

Zoe Bather
Being stuck on a project and leaving it too long before asking others what they think.

< home >

Fill/Stroke is a collection of three individuals who have always been good at collecting content, but never really good at sharing it. We formed in early 2008, and have been honored to interview some of the greatest designers of our time.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at info@fillslashstroke.com

We are

Find our old blog here