GFDA – Good Fucking Design Advice

We talk to Brian Buirge and Jason Bacher of GFDA

This was supposed to be an informative and educational article on the Geography Faculty Development Alliance but, due to a clerical error, this week’s Creative Chair interview is with Brian Buirge and Jason Bacher of GFDA (Good Fucking Design Advice).

Good Fucking Design Advice is fairly self-explanatory, but for those who don’t know, GFDA is an ever-growing collection of tips (or advice, if you will) in the form of short sentences, each of which has the word “fucking” placed, or sometimes shoehorned into it!

For example, advice number 279 “Explore all of your fucking options” or number 43 “Don’t fucking use Comic Sans”. You get the idea.

GFDA Mug

It’s great advice for designers and creatives and what’s more, Brian and Jason have turned this idea into a business that offers workshops and sells good fucking merchandise.

GFDA Talk

Today we caught up with them to find out more about the business and the people and ideas behind it.

Don’t forget to check out the GFDA website to find out more

Do you think that GFDA would still work as a business model if it were just GDA, that is to say, how important is the word ‘fucking’ to the success and the general ethos of your endeavour?

I believe the use of the word “fucking” — specifically in our brand is akin to the use of the computer in graphic design. It is a key component, it is what everything is assembled around, but it doesn’t drive our ideation process.

We make no mistake, we know the profanity is what gets people in the door, (and also what keeps some people out), but for us the effort is in keeping their attention, engaging our audience, and challenging them to a call-to-action that exists within themselves. We believe our followers stick with us because we reflect a mantra of disciplined passion back at people who have that within themselves.

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How can designers maintain their passion and prevent design from becoming just a job?

This is absolutely a challenge! For one I think it’s best for all creatives everywhere to come out and admit they have ruts. Not that anyone’s denying it, but with our curated social media world there is an impression that’s given that everything is perfect all the time. So if we can say, okay this is a normal thing, then we’re one step closer to getting out.

I believe ruts are really important if handled the right way. It’s a message from yourself. It can mean a lot of things, but overall it means it’s time to change something. Maybe it’s as simple as trying a new approach, or maybe it’s as drastic as quitting your job and moving to a new country. Whatever it is, it won’t go away if you’re idle—your mind is trying to tell you something, and that something involves doing.

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Infamous Apple designer Jonathan Ive has one of your posters on his wall. How does that feel, and, is there anyone whose wall you wouldn’t like to see one of your posters?

It’s a great feeling! It’s one of the best parts of our job; we create these products and services because we find value in them ourselves and to see them used and valued by other people, especially people you hold up as heroes, is overwhelmingly rewarding.

In terms of anyone who I wouldn’t like to see have our poster up on their wall—I dunno, I’ll simply default to say, anyone who’s a vile human being, we can let the audience discern who such people might be.

GFDA Poster

What do you think you would be doing now if you weren’t doing GFDA?

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Brian

If GFDA hadn’t come about or taken-off while I was in graduate school, I’d probably have continued on the trajectory towards education.

I am very passionate about teaching design and love the classroom environment. It is quite frankly the one thing I miss most in my day-to-day activities with GFDA. We get to do our workshops here and there, which is fantastic, but I’ve still got an itch.

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Jason

Product design or art direction are the two paths I could see myself headed towards if we hadn’t launched GFDA. Graduate school heightened my appreciation for design education, research, and entrepreneurship.

So logically any position of leadership where design and strategy intersect is where I would likely find myself.

The Wachowski brothers are now both women. If the two of you had a sex change, what would your new names be?

Betty and Janet (I’m sure you can figure out who’s who in this scenario).

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Do you have a new piece of good fucking advice you could share with our readers?

Sign-up for our newsletter! Haha, can I say that? We have a great weekly email that goes out on Mondays that takes one of our 300+ pieces of advice and extrapolates on it in a few sentences to give folks a kick in the pants to start their week. But okay, okay, a new piece of advice is what you’ve asked for. So here goes…

 Be fucking flexible.

-GFDA

Everything changes. What you’re doing now is likely not what you’ll be doing in five years. In fact, you should count on it. Of course it is good to plan and have goals, but life and work have a way of taking you along for the ride with or without your consent. And if you let them, they can take you to some pretty incredible places.

And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?

Brian Buirge

Brian

I’d have to say “J.A.R.” by Green Day. The song was worked on during Dookie (which was the first album I ever owned), but it wasn’t part of that album ultimately.

Jason Bacher

Jason

That’s easy, “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. In nearly every adventure I have ever been on whether I am travelling through another country or faced with an overwhelming obstacle (Basically, GFDA), this song has appeared. The track has apocalyptic tones, but I like to think of more like a reminder that regardless of where you are the worst times are behind you.

About The Creative Chair

The Creative Chair is an ever-growing collection of interviews with some of the world’s most brilliant creative people in the fields of design, illustration, animation, 3D & VR, photography and art.

These trailblazers have donated their time to share their knowledge with the creative community and help support the charities that The Creative Chair benefits.

The last question they are asked is always the same, and the full playlist can be found on Spotify and YouTube.

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