Last-Minute Gifts for Designers: Rick Griffith’s Words to Design (and Live) By

Posted inDesign Inspiration
Thumbnail for Last-Minute Gifts for Designers: Rick Griffith’s Words to Design (and Live) By

The Denver-based Rick Griffith is PRINT’s first Artist-in-Residence. Check back every Wednesday throughout the next month, as we spotlight various projects by the graphic designer and master letterpress printer. And to read or listen to the first installment of his new PRINT column, “Processing (,.,.,.,.,.,.,),” click here.

One thing that is often absent from so many curricula in so many fields, both in theory and practice: ethics.

And that’s why we love Rick Griffith’s “Introductory Ethic for Designers”—because of its utility, because of its poignance, and because of the graceful way in which it distills the wisdom of “dozens, if not hundreds” of design minds down to their very essence of one powerful whole.

“It’s a compilation,” Griffith says. “Some of it is from Milton Glaser, some of it is from other people, but my own spin on some of that stuff is connected to my history in the profession. It’s in the way that you might tattoo someone else's artwork on your body—it’s their artwork, but it’s your body.

“It's their words, but it’s my experience.”

It’s design that thrives in its simplicity, and contrasts the hyperstimulation of Griffith’s brilliant annotated prints.

And then there are messages so urgent and necessary that they require very little design at all, such as Griffith’s Pledge for Spaces, printed by Genghis Kern.

“Pledge for Spaces is about one word and one word alone: consequences,” Griffith says. “What I really wanted people to do is create consequences because at the point that you create consequences, you're leveraging your own individual power—you’re leveraging your power as a business, you’re leveraging your power as a person, you’re leveraging the power of your authority in the space. And that’s what our world needs: the spaces that we occupy need to become safe.”

Burdened and stressed by the notion of style, Griffith decided to use a font from Google, and intentionally sought to avoid typesetting it and making it beautiful.

“I’m going to just simply give people a chance to own it with me in the most normal, non-designer, good-enough-for-government-work way, and stylizing it would have taken away from its value,” he says.

Democratizing the design of both works, Griffith allows downloads and dissemination with attribution—and offers the prints at a pay-what-you-can rate.

So if you’re looking for last-minute gifts that truly matter, head to Matter.