Applying the Jedi Code to Graphic Design

Luke Skywalker chasing Stormtrooper

Today is May 4th…Star Wars Day for those of us who consider ourselves Star Wars fans. I don’t write many of these blogs, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity when Star Wars Day lined up with ThirdSide Thursday in the blog. It was almost as if it were a convergence in the Force.

For this post, I’m going to try something a little…unnatural. I’m going to take a rather obscure piece of Star Wars lore–the Jedi Code–and see if the principles espoused in that code can be applied to graphic design. I’m not sure if this will work or not, but here goes. Anybody else have a bad feeling about this?

Here’s how the Jedi Code reads:

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.

Let’s break it down line by line:

There is no emotion, there is peace.
As creative types, we designers have a tendency to get emotionally attached to our work. There have been times when a client rejected my work and it was very uncomfortable. But to serve our clients best, we have to be willing to let go of attachment to our individual creations and focus on our clients’ needs.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
Continuing education is a requirement for any good designer. We can’t design in a vacuum and remain unaware of the world moving around us. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. As new technologies emerge, we have to make sure we stay on top of the changes they bring.

There is no passion, there is serenity.
Here’s where I’m going to bring in the Dark Side: The beginning of the creative process should be passionate. Passion is what brings meaning to a project. But the process of discovery should be passionate and logical. When logic is applied to passion, you can achieve the serenity the Jedi seek.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.
A good designer is always looking to eliminate the unnecessary chaos that can creep into a design. When we begin most projects, we start by exploring every crazy random idea we can come up with. Sometimes our list of ideas gets so long that we lose sight of the original purpose of the project. But a good design process has simplification built into it. When we begin to scrape away the excess noise brought about by the process, we can find harmony in design.

There is no death, there is the Force.
Graphic designers love to look to the works of famous designers and artists who are no longer with us. Two designers who immediately come to mind are Paul Rand and Saul Bass. Even though they both passed away in 1996, their lives are rediscovered when somebody studies their work. Appreciating the work of past designers is one way to help them live past their natural years.

So there you have it: The Jedi Code applied to graphic design. It (sort of) worked! A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.

May the Fourth…er…Force Be With You.