Get Awesome by S.U.I.N.G. Life!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my functional-but-mediocre graphic design skills lately, as I want to find a way to go from having a D-game to a C-game, since that’s how one gets to a B-game.[1] During that means embracing the notion of “iterative failure.”

On my walk home yesterday, I was musing on this and the corporate-speak idea of having your values collapsed into an acronym. For some reason, S.U.I.N.G. popped into my head and wouldn’t let go. It amused me, so I figured I’d throw something stupid together and maybe it would amuse some of you.


The funny thing about acronyms like this is they make for handy mnemonic reminders, the more amusing the better. In this case, I am sucking at making this graphic.[2] I sort of understand why this sucks, though not in a way that I can really articulate[3]. I know how I’ve sucked at stuff like this in the past, so I’ve taken time to understand it (like by reading The Non-Designer’s Design Book or examining the work Brianna Reed did on the Play Everything poster) and iterated on future projects.

This shows that I never give up, even when the next thing I make is gonna suck—maybe suck less, but suck. And eventually I’ll get what I want, which is to not need to rely on other people for basic decent design.

Speaking of, if anyone knows some good materials for getting better at basic chart design and stuff like that, I am very open to hearing about them!

Bonus Coincidence Video!

After I showed this post to Brianna Reed, she shared a recent TEDx talk about how we suck at failing. I really dig the vibe of “Cool, you failed. What’s next?” as described in the video below.

– Ryan

[1] I won’t kid myself into thinking I’ll get an A-game in that arena. I’m satisfied having that elsewhere, and I like working with my A-game peeps.

[2] Gotta beat haters to the joke. :)

[3] Which is a flag that I don’t understand the problem set well enough yet, so I also have to iterate on gaining that understanding—which is the point of failing repeatedly, if you do it well.


One Response to Get Awesome by S.U.I.N.G. Life!

  1. I love this idea. I love everything about it.

    I even love that you included my TEDx talk.

    The one thing I’ll add is, create a tangent project that you can experiment on (like building the cheapo model rocket first, or building that birdhouse/spice rack with balsa before using the mahogany) – this is what I did with my first illustrated kid’s book. To source it out was upwards of $700. I drew it myself, got it done, and it’s on Amazon now. I knew it wasn’t as good as if I’d paid someone to do it, but what I learned I could apply to the next one.

    If I started with my pet project, I never would have launched it.