Julie Green

Indie Designer + Illustrator @ Up Up Creative

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There's No Right Way

The central idea underlying all of the joy, angst, friendships, quandaries, and sorrow in my life is that there is no right way to do things, but that there are skillful ways to buck the system. Ways to do so that unite people rather than divide them. Ways to advocate change, perhaps, or to refuse to conform to expectations, that do not have to pit YOU against THEM in an antagonistic battle of traditions and wills.

Along these lines, I believe - have always believed - that rules and etiquette have their purposes, but that if you are willing to learn to be vulnerable, compassionate, open to dissent, and willing to explain (and thus to allow people to understand and be moved by) your actions, choices, and underlying motivations, then rules and etiquette no longer matter. Rules and etiquette exist to help you not hurt people, but if you're being skillful in your interactions then you can figure out how to ignore etiquette and rules and still refrain from hurting people.

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In my work life, I am a graphic designer. I imagine that a lot of people are probably taking this course as a means to or a reinforcement of a career more specifically related to thought leadership - careers as bloggers, coaches, speakers, politicians, etc. I also know that there are ways that I could be a thought leader in a way that more specifically relates to design: I could spread my message that design should be X, Y, or Z in order to accomplish this or that. I could see design as a method of thinking, sort of how Kelli Anderson does in her TED talk on design. I could talk about how I believe we all have an elemental drive to create.

But that's not really the urgent message burning itself into my flesh and writing itself across the pages of my journals - oh so many journals over the years. The urgent message is that there is no right way, and that believing that doesn't have to pit you against everyone. That's the urgent message.

So the task for ME (in this project, in my career) will be to figure out how to communicate this message through my work as a designer. 

Right now the way I do it (although I do it very quietly, and I'd like to do it more loudly than I do) is to focus my work primarily on wedding invite design. Even I want to roll my own eyes when I say this, since oh wow, another wedding invite designer in the world. Aren't weddings just a cash cow, and aren't invitations just so easy to design.

But I have a reason I have gravitated toward this work, and that reason is related to my urgent message: I enjoy reassuring my clients that whatever way they want to do their weddings, it's ok, and they don't have to make it a big battle between them and everyone else. I like to help them figure out ways to communicate their vision to their friends and families. I like to remind them that they're inviting only their most favorite people in the whole world, people they know, and people who they can communicate with skillfully even without following the Hundred and One Rules of Wedding Invitation Etiquette.

And speaking of those Hundred and One Rules, I keep seeing them posted on Pinterest in various infographic forms, and it drives me crazy. Really damned crazy.

So I think that my deliverable for this project will be to create an amazingly awesome infographic on why there is no need for wedding etiquette as long as you are being honest, sincere, vulnerable, open to conversation, and willing to explain. And then I'm going to get every single person I know to pin it. So there.

Oh, and I'm also getting time on the blog A Practical Wedding at the end of April, so I think maybe instead of featuring my work like I usually do, I'll focus on these ideas (and share the infographic, too).

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