Andy Cooke

Design & direction across brand identity, screen and print

Who cares?

  1. 584 words
  2. 2 minute read

It’s been just over two years since I’ve written anything about design.

I had plenty of article ideas during that time. Personally, and professionally speaking, I’ve been busy; I was let go at my role at EF in Switzerland, I’ve moved back to the UK and bought a house, got a dog, all while freelancing with stints at R/GA, Google, Gretel, DesignStudio, and more. There’s hardly been time to take a beat.

But more importantly, so much has happened in that two years on a global level. Any views I have on the state of the design industry, how teams might work better together (or whatever else) just pails into insignificance when a pandemic is killing millions. When Black, Indigenous and people of colour continue to be marginalised globally, and wars are raging in Europe again. Indeed, who wants to read about the opinions of a designer during these sort of times?

Whenever I went to put finger to key it all felt sort of… pointless.

Yet here we are, I’m writing — and you’re reading — about the opinions of a designer during these sort of times. The irony isn’t lost on me, I promise. Thing is, it’s always ‘these sort of times’, right? There’s always something happening in the world. And, there always has been.

For instance, the war in Ukraine is just one of many conflicts that have been raging in recent years. Since 2020, over half a million people have lost their lives as a result of the Tigray War across Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan. The Yemeni Crisis has claimed almost the same amount of lives over the past 11 years in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 11 Years! Yet, people like me go and write their little opinions on their little websites all the while. It really does keep that pointless notion top of mind.

Without being too nihilistic, I just had to accept that this is the shitty reality of modern day life. I can only do what I can do from afar — by donating time, money, and staying open to a being better global citizen.

There’s also the acceptance that writing is a part of my work, And if I’m to feed myself, my household (and my dog) I have to push through that feeling of pointlessness and just get on. I have to practice, and push this side of my day-to-day just like I have been with designing and directing the past two years (which at times, has also definitely strayed into the pointless mindset territory).

If the past 24 months has showed me anything, I have to keep on keeping on with what’s important to me. We all do. For our own mental health, for those around us, for everything we hold dear. Every single human being’s happiness is equally valid, mine and yours included. All the shit things in the world don’t eradicate that truth, but amplify it. All the shit things only emphasise that all the important stuff could be gone in a flash. So we must embrace them whilst we can.

To that end, I’m only going to write about what I care about from here on in. They might be design related topics, sure. They might be pieces on subjects I know little about (as people are more passionate about things they know little of than anything), or it might be fictional short stories. Who knows, or cares? It doesn’t really matter, aside from knowing that they won’t be pointless endeavours.