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Dear amigos,

Below, you’ll discover a historic and ever-evolving manifesto, created by designers that we profoundly admire, and that holds a special place in our hearts. We hope it will serve as a guiding light for your journey as designers and creators in this difficult century we find ourselves in.

The manifesto’s origins

In the 1960s, designer Ken Garland, along with 20 other creative minds, including designers, photographers, and students, crafted the First Things First manifesto. This statement was a response to the rushed and shallow nature of mainstream advertising in 1960s Britain. The manifesto urged a change in design focus, emphasizing education and public service to contribute to a better tomorrow. It challenged the design community to reconsider their roles, pushing for a shift towards creating in favor of society’s growth rather than solely for commercial interests.

First Things First Evolution

Over the years, the manifesto has evolved to address contemporary challenges. The most recent 2020 version encourages designers to address critical issues such as climate change, systemic racism, and social justice. Crafted by designers who carry on Garland’s legacy, these recent manifestos not only uphold the essence of First Things First but also provide a fresh perspective, taking into account the current dynamics in the communication and design industry.

You can read here all the existing versions of the manifesto:

What is the manifesto asking from designers?

First Things First calls for a change in the design community, challenging designers to actively support causes that champion justice, inclusivity, and environmental sustainability, thus connecting design with broader societal concerns. As the manifesto evolves to navigate a complex landscape, it consistently influences ethical considerations within the design profession.

Garland’s challenge to designers and creatives is today still present: Use our skills as creators and designers to leave a positive impact on society. In alignment with the 2020 revisited version of the manifesto, designers are tasked with implementing the following actions:

  • “We must challenge and examine the histories, processes, and ethics of design and develop new creative skills, resources, collaborations, and languages of design.
  • We must support community-based efforts to advance and promote justice, healing, co-existence, and mutual respect.
  • We must understand that we are not outside of nature; we are a part of a complex system and our actions must reflect that knowledge.
  • We must reverse our profession’s priorities in favor of more inclusive, empathetic, and engaged forms of action — a mind-shift that goes beyond sustainability — towards regeneration, exploration, and co-creation of a non-exploitative, non-appropriative set of social-environmental relations.
  • We must commit to reconnecting design, manufacturing, distribution, and use of the things we design to the Earth — and all of its inhabitants.
  • We must direct our skills for the betterment of humanity towards a more ecological civilization”.

Today First Things First is an extremely popular manifesto, but not enough designers have heard of it. You can add your voice to the manifesto through this link.

Hope this was useful Amigos. Let us know your thoughts at


Camila Curiel

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