Why Thinking Outside the Box is Wrong

Amos Kennedy, Jr.

Why Thinking Outside the Box is Wrong

Filmed on October 19, 2016 at the 2016 AIGA Design Conference

It is common to hear the cry “Think outside the box!” This talk explores how this might be a limiting approach to problem solving and help give designers a reason to abandon any attempt to think outside the box.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Amos Kennedy Jr.’s path to design has been anything but linear. At the age of 40, Kennedy left his job as a systems analyst to pursue a career as a letterpress printer. After studying under legendary book designer and papermaker Walter Hamady, Kennedy earned his M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kennedy’s signature brand of socially and politically charged letterpress and incendiary posters has been the subject of the 2008 documentary Proceed and Be Bold! Below is how Kennedy chronicles his own experience:

I was born.

I am animal.
I am human.

I live.

I live negro.
I tell you this because you will mistake me for an africanamerican BUT I am negro, a descendant of the enslaved peoples of theseunitedstatesofamerica.
I live southern.
I was born colored in Louisiana. I was raised negro. I was educated Black at Grambling College, a historically integrated college.
I live in the moment.
In the moment is creation. Creation is within every human. We must celebrate our creativity. The moment fuels our creativity.
I live to put ink on paper.
This is the major outlet for my creativity. I put ink on paper for the glory of my peoples. The words of my peoples have largely been excluded from fine print." I defy this condition and force my peoples' presence into this part of this civilization's culture.
I am a printer.
I am not an artist.
I am a stuff-maker.
I am not an artist.
I am a visitor.

I will die.