Visual Design A0: The Design Manifesto

Before starting with Assignment 0 on my Design Manifesto, I figured that I should have an idea of what it is and what a manifesto is about.

In the reading Dematerialization of Screen Space (Helfand), I would first like to address that I got the feeling that modern forms of media representation seem not to be in too much favor of Helfand as the modern forms don’t represent realness and texture of our physical world, which most of the time I do agree with. It is no doubt true that we frame ourselves within rectangular screens now and that what we see on screens now seem too dynamic and colorful to be real, and that we spend too much time on screens we barely come in contact with what our surroundings have to offer, but I see in many cases the dematerialization does happen in our life with or without screens. For example, Helfand mentioned “conventions of timekeeping — clocks, calendars, the occasional sunrise — are rendered virtually immaterial” to describe time on screen. The representation of hours itself has been immaterial, as we have clocks in the form of measuring time, and with or without screens we have always been needing a measurement of some kind, numerical and precise. Whether it’s about time or not, aesthetic on screens opens up another world for people and it doesn’t necessarily have to exclude the reality one way or another. I don’t think digital design is the black sheep of designs that was defined some time ago, because it can coexist with early twentieth century’s.

That might have seem a little off topic to put here but I like how at the end the author addresses and challenges modern designers to think about these things and I think for my manifesto I would also like to address some concerns that I personally have been having within the world of design that might have been solved, or not.

Then in the pdf file Graphic Design Manifestos, there are a collection of manifestos which mine should probably take form of. It appears to me that manifestos are most likely in the form of a short poem-like slogans that addresses the core of the topic and how industry related people would like to address to that. Since I have took a class about Agile Software development in undergrad, I took a look at Manifesto for Agile Software Development for some in depth understanding and also a brief visit to Pinterest gave me a pretty clear idea on the form of my manifesto.

After that,I started putting down some key words I would like to appeal in my manifesto, related to design, of course. In this process I walked around my apartment, looking for designs I look at daily, and thought about what I liked or not liked about them. Being a hobbyist digital artist, I have been very careful with the design within my art. In combination of my own rules, and what I read for this class, I came up with these key points for the manifesto:

About the audience:

Accessibility, Inclusiveness, Diversity, Equality

About the look:

Focal point, Layers, Uniqueness, Style, Aesthetics, Be Brave and Innovative

About the goal

Message, Straightforward, Accuracy

Finally, I elaborated on these key points I came up with, which wraps the A0. I’m sure there are some things I believed in but missed it for the moment, so I would love to see more examples from my classmates.

And here comes my final version of my design manifesto!

About the audience:


  • A good design is accessible to every human being in the world and should share its message the easiest way possible. If reached, then the design should be accessible to the reached. Think about closed caption, alt text, or voice over compatibilities.


  • Address whom the design is for, and the group of audience who might come in contact with it. Meaning we should make the audience feel welcomed and included with the design, but this does not mean that the inclusiveness is for the targeted users only and marginalize those who only show interest.

Diversity and Equality

  • Depending on the design, respect (including but not limited to) culture, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, social status, and thought, as every one of the audiences is equal to each other.

About the look/appearance:

Focal point

  • A good design should have something (could be more than one thing, as a parallel element) that pops out from the other elements to convey the message. It is often something that catches the eyes of the audience on their first glance.


  • Aside from the main element, know the primary and secondary relationships of the designed element. Never make a design too overwhelming for the audience to receive.


  • Be original, but always learn from the best.


  • Have a style which as whole, will make the design more appealing. Know the difference of different styles. Know the colors, the texture, the fonts, and what’s a good combination of them.


  • An upgrade to Style — know the color palette, the effects, and the atmosphere you would like to bring to the audience. Know the situation and topic and when to make adjustments.

Be Brave and Innovative

  • Don’t be afraid to invent your own style and color palette. Be brave to show new ideas and innovate and be passionate.

About the goal and message

Draft the Message

  • Write out the message before drafting. You can only convey the message clearly when you, as the designer, know what it is.


  • Be understandable. Make sure the audience knows what the message is trying to say, but this doesn’t mean the message can’t be fun and innovative in its form.


  • Think about if the design could be misleading in any way, whether it’s the message that’s being sent out, the elements or art that’s being represented, be precise to the theme.