Bruce Mau : The Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Posted by: on Nov 5, 2013 | No Comments

The Incomplete Manifesto for Growth (ou Le manifest incomplet pour la croissance) à été écrit en 1998 par Bruce Mau, designer et penseur du design.

Bruce Mau est un designer canadien né le 25 octobre 1959 à Sudbury. Il se fait connaître dans les années 1980 avec son travail pour Zone Books. En 1985, il fonde son propre studio, Bruce Mau Design, dont il est directeur de création jusqu’en 2011. Il est le fondateur et de l’Institute Without Boundaries.

Ce manifest drôle et anticonformiste se compose de 43 articles, autant de recommandations utiles avant d’entrer dans la profession. Il nous rappelle que sans liberté et ouverture d’esprit il n’y a pas de créativité.

En voilà une partie avec les titres traduits en français. Enjoy!

Une version PDF avec les titres traduits en français
Une version PDF en anglais

Allow events to change you / Laisser les évènements vous transformer

You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

Forget about good / Oubliez ce qui est bien

Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

Process is more important than outcome / Le cheminement est plus important que la finalité

When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

Love your experiments / Aimez expérimenter

Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

Go deep / Allez au bout des choses

The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

Capture accidents / Profitez des accidents

The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

Study / Etudiez

A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

Drift / Laissez-vous aller

Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

Begin anywhere / Commencez n’importe où

John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

Everyone is a leader / Laissez-vous guider

Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

Keep moving / Ne vous reposez pas sur vos lauriers

The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

Slow down / Ralentissez

Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

Don’t be cool

Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

Ask stupid questions / Posez des questions idiotes

Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

Collaborate / Collaborez

The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

Stay up late / Couchez-vous tard

Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.

Work the metaphor / Utilisez des métaphores

Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

Be careful to take risks / Assurez-vous de prendre des risques

Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

Repeat yourself / Recommencez

If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

Make your own tools / fabriquez vos outils

Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

Stand on someone’s shoulders / Reposez-vous sur les aquis des autres

You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

Avoid software. / Evitez les logiciels

The problem with software is that everyone has it.

Don’t clean your desk / Ne rangez pas votre bureau

You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

Read only left-hand pages / Ne lisez que les pages de gauche

Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our “noodle.”

Make new words / Inventez de mots

Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

Think with your mind / Pensez avec votre tête

Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

Don’t borrow money / N’empruntez pas d’argent

Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

Listen carefully / écoutez avec attention

Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

Take field trips / Sortez

The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

Imitate/ Imitez

Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.


When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else … but not words.

Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

Explore the other edge/ Essayez l’autre coté

Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms/ Pose café, tour en taxi, chambres vertes

Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces

Avoid fields / Ne restez pas enfermé dans une discipline

Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

Laugh / Riez

People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

Remember / Rappelez-vous

Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

Power to the people / La liberté pour tous

Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.

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