a (digital) craftsman's manifesto

12 principles to think and live as a craftsman in a digital, hectic world

These are the principles that – now, after 25 years – I can say I have followed, defining my sense of “craftsmanship”. These are the guidelines I want to uphold for the next 25 years, or until I grow weary of this digital world.


Your works can't be good if your life is just work

Nourish yourself with stimuli from outside your work: creativity comes from contamination and curiosity, away from your screens, in the unexpected


You are not an artist

Your end product should not celebrate your ego: your design process may be a medium for personal expression, but the final outcome should only serve the users and the customers, not your self-worth


You are not a factory worker

You're not mass-producing parts: craft your work with precision, be wary of a one-size-fits-all approach – recurring patterns may exist in your products, but be sure that each decision is intentional


Know the stuff that your product will be made on

Designing a product isn't abstract it's about dealing with the practicalities and constraints of building, knowing the basic blocks of development


Work where you can keep your focus high

Remove any distraction, add some inspiration, create a corner of peace and concentration: take care of yourself first, to better take care of your work


Beauty lies in simplicity, not in style

An easy-to-use product will shine in its simplicity, pushing you to reuse it: don't hinder users adding decoration, flashy effects or excessive styling, if you're not adding value


Boring lasts longer than sexy

Digital products aren't designed to last forever, but neither should they be a fad: don't chase trends just to be cool, have the courage to create things that may seem less exciting, but more substantial


There's always more to remove than to add

Making users feel at ease often means reducing (or removing) clicks, fields, usability barriers, arbitrary demands, blatant marketing, overstyling, jargon, waiting times, irrelevant information


Customers know the problems, not the solutions

Listen closely to your customers' needs and pains, but stay impartial to their suggested solutions: they may be valuable, but true efficacy can only be determined at the end of an unbiased design process


Don't take the job if you can't give your best

You want to be a good fit for your customer, but it goes both ways: focus on helping those where your unique skills can bring the most value, and truly make a difference


You don't have to be a carpenter to design a hammer

Expertise in the product domain is helpful but not essential to create a great design – likewise, embracing a newbie perspective can be crucial in providing a fresh, unbiased outlook on a problem


Your best tool is attention

Mastering specific tools enhances efficiency but doesn't inherently improve your product: whatever the tool, make deliberate decisions guided by your intentional attention