Ten lessons for young designers

There are some universal truths that stand the test of time. For John C. Jay, those truths involve ten guiding lessons for young, budding designers. The former Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy segued from the ad world to the brand world when he took on the role of President of Global Creative at Uniqlo in 2014. The industry veteran has produced some of the most progressive work today helping brands such as Nike, pivot into a global success story.

At Cannes Lions today, the communications guru reflected on a few key learnings. The most important? “Don’t work for stupid people,” he said. “Stupidity is like the flu, or a virus, and soon they’re coughing all over you and you’re affected.”

Note these lessons down and check in with them regularly:

1. Be authentic. The most powerful asset you have is your individuality, what makes you unique. It’s time to stop listening to others on what you should do.

2. Work harder than anyone else and you will always benefit from the effort.

3. Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture. Life is visceral.

4. Constantly improve your craft. Make things with your hands. Innovation in thinking is not enough.

5. Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to learn just how much you don’t know.

6. Being original is still king, especially in this tech-driven, group-grope world.

7. Try not to work for stupid people or you’ll soon become one of them.

8. Instinct and intuition are all-powerful. Learn to trust them.

9. The Golden Rule actually works. Do good.

10. If all else fails, No. 2 is the greatest competitive advantage of any career.

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