No vision is too big. It’s the cultural constraints we’re working in that are too small.
In Switzerland, the creative children start their formal arts training early.
At fourteen, my drawing lessons began, and by eighteen I’d know that form follows function, and even something as arbitrary as colour can sway a consumer to choose one laundry detergent over another.
It was a challenging program. Combine that with a desire to please, feelings of inadequacy, drive, overwhelm, and youth and you’ll have a kid burnt out as quickly as they were lit up.
But I’m lucky. When needing a break, I had the means and the family support to take one, which included a view of a different horizon. Travel is a learning experience too.
And learn I did...
Leap out of the systems that cradle you and what happens? You face what it cradles you from.
In Bolivia, the disadvantaged throw rocks.
I travelled to La Paz to live with a godmother on a cliff where an armed guard stood at the gates that shielded the privileged from the reality on the other side.
But I walked around reality all the time, young and naive, hardly comprehending such merciless poverty. Sure, it was dangerous at times. That said, the very mindset that can get you killed is the same one that calls bullshit on “the way it is”.
If you see a broken system and call it by its real name, you’re at the fight. But choosing to work and use your skills to reimagine what’s shattered - that’s how you enter the ring.
I returned to Europe and quit design school, its motivations for consumerism and profit too disappointing in light of what I’d just witnessed. It was the education that defined me and the future I’d been training for.
To quit school was to quit my life.
But I went on to live nine others.
In Vancouver, a Swiss designer lives abroad, where multiple educations, countries, and languages pulse within me.
Some of us need to go around the world to learn how to build our own.
After a decade of paths less travelled, I made my way back to design - but to use its power differently. I reshape paradigms, systems, missions, and businesses. Our personal development, our experiences, as well as the things we care about, the impact we want to make, and our expertise - it all goes into building a world with the integrity we hunger for in a culture that forgets the real cost of building cheap.
I despise: Get rich quick. Follow these formulas. Fake it till you make it.
Like the real world, the virtual one can no longer afford its illusions.
As the globe continues to shrink, the gates that separate ugly truths from comfortable fantasy are too obvious to ignore, and change makers in all industries are grasping the size of their task. It won’t be easy, but we can’t change the world by continuing to participate with how it currently operates.