Design Story: Resist Create Collaborate - The 3 Elements of Change



When you put an idea out there, not everyone will get it. We understand the presence of that possibility with every design we playfully, joyfully, and painstakingly create. The 3 elements (resist create collaborate) shirts have garnered much discussion online, so I wanted to take a moment to explain it.

After the 2016 election, we were talking one night about the "state of things". It struck me that I heard a lot of talk about resistance, but little about what to do after we resist. The questions that kept repeating in my mind were: What is "next"? What is "better"? How do we create what is next and better?

This is when the idea for the 3 elements came to me. Resist. Create. Collaborate. There is no order to the elements. They are one.

Make no mistake: I think that sometimes humans must resist. Oppression must be resisted. Denigration and subjugation of others based on skin color, sexual orientation, gender, country of origin, or religion must be resisted. Policies that legislate that denigration and subjugation must be resisted. Some mistakenly equate resistance with violence. These two words are not synonyms and should not be taken as such. Remember that Dr. King (and many others) called what they did nonviolent resistance. I think that sometimes violent resistance is necessary. Should one attack my family, I should resist them violently.

However, resistance alone simply leaves us at odds with whatever is current. It does not create anything new. Creative individuals interacting with other individuals is how we truly achieve lasting change. There are moments where we must collaborate with others, and moments where we need to create individually. I see this as a fluid concept. Some are enamored with the idea of the individual maverick that leads us all to a better world. Others are tied to the idea that we must always work with others. I think that both of these views are can be valid and present in the same space.

The key is the use of the 3 elements when appropriate and necessary. That is the only way change can last. Sometimes, creativity and collaboration without resistance actually results in continued oppression. Sometimes, resistance without anything else creates a vicious cycle. We must learn to adapt and apply within the moment.

Remember at the beginning of this post that I said "when you put an idea out there, not everyone will get it"? Well, luckily they have! If you look through the photos on our Facebook page or Instagram feed, people of a variety of ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds have taken photos in both versions of our shirt! That not only makes us proud, but it feels like for a few moments we are invited into someone else's life.


Kwame

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