Failure is the new success? Not in my world.

Failure is the new success? Not in my world.


Yet again, my inbox is full of a slew of notices to attend a design conference that features some hot shot designer touting the value of failure.

"Fail Better", "Fail Harder", "Fail your way to success!" 

I have to laugh at these ridiculous memes which lately are getting tossed about in the design world.

Look, I get it. Do it as many times as it takes to get it right. Through the process of creation and failure one makes discoveries that lead to eventual success. Great. Sound advice.

But do we have to shout these slogans with such ferocity as to sound like we designers are a bunch of directionless nincompoops? 

Having worked in the NYC ad industry, where there is neither the time nor patience for the kind of haphazard idiocy entailed by the use of “Fail”, I personally ban that word from my vocabulary.  Because in that world, the word “Fail” equates to “Unemployed.”

Let’s also talk about what using these slogans sound like to clients.

Seriously, next time you're talking to a client ask them if they want you to “Fail Better”. It’s asinine sloganeering like this that will insure you look like a jackass to them or any other perspective client.

Speaking of which, in lieu of giving the idea to clients that you will fail numerous times until getting it right, and in the course of this folly, blow their budgets out of the water, how about instead you start using memes that reinforce positives? 

For example: “Try Harder.”, “Work Smarter.” or my personal favorite, “On Budget, on Target and on Time.”

 It’s hard enough that most folks when they hear the word “creative”, they picture some slovenly douche in skinny jeans who spends more time posting to Instagram, than on thinking up smart solutions. So let’s all help clients start thinking of us with a sense of appreciation for what we do by changing our mottos.

Perhaps then I won’t hear so many designers whining like Rodney Dangerfield about “Getting no respect.” at the next design conference.


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