Day 24

Day 24

Everyone is just making it up as they go along.

— Frank Chimero

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We like Frank Chimero. We like his work, and we like him as a human being. Although he may not be a your quintessential design entrepreneur who is the co-founder of a start up or pushing his own product line, Frank embodies much of the Kern and Burn spirit. For the past year he has been writing a new book, The Shape of Design, which was successfully Kickstarted in March 2011 and is set for release early this year. Prior to writing his book, Frank made a name for himself in the design world as an illustrator. His state illustration project, featured here on, made its way around the internet alongside illustrations for major publications.

Frank always has intelligent things to say on his blog.  He is the type of designer who is probably reading philosophy and thinking deep thoughts while the rest of us are wasting our time on He currently defines himself as a writer and a designer.

Recent talks at the Do Lectures and the Build conference are available to view online. We’d recommend both of them to anyone thinking about what it means to be a designer. In his The Shape of Design talk, Frank discusses why design’s success is hard to measure. He says, “Design is about people, and people are often illogical. People are emotional and squishy.” If you give a prompt to four different designers, you will receive four different solutions. He encourages designers to delight their audiences by embracing paradoxes and finding overlaps in humanity’s common experiences.

The Do lecture explains storytelling as it relates to design’s impact. The digital world makes us more likely to share things, but less likely to gift them. Giving a gift requires the giver to sacrifice something. Frank wants to make design that mimics the experience of giving and receiving mix-tapes, the kind of heartfelt gifts that convey his passion to people he cares about. He believes in making things for other people because it highlights our co-dependency.

Watch Frank’s talks if you have an hour and want to believe in design again. He says, “Look around you. Everything is possible again and the world is not done.”