ixd101 – Manifesto Research & Planning




  • a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate:”he may fudge key issues in the Labour manifesto”

-Oxford Dictionary





  • (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation:”a mantra is given to a trainee meditator when his teacher initiates him”
  • a statement or slogan repeated frequently:”the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap”

-Oxford Dictionary


To me, a manifesto is something that will help push and motivate someone in a time of need. Much like a Buddhist mantra, it will aid and inspire one to keep persevering. I believe having a personal manifesto is key to following through on your intentions – either in school work, the workplace, or just with life in general.

My Manifesto is “Focus on the possibilities rather than the failures.” It is very important to me to remember this as I often get hung up on my mistakes. If things don’t go right the first time around, I often get discouraged and will put up a mental block that may come in the way of me completing my work.


What is the history of the manifesto?

Manifestos exist in many historical art movements and cultures, the few I will touch on will be Surrealism, Dadaism, and De Stijl.



Surrealism was a cultural movement that is “known for its visual artworks and writings and the juxtaposition of uncommon imagery” (Wikipedia). It was developed in Europe, post-WWI, and was mostly influenced by Dada. The whole aim of surrealism was to break the boundaries of art, creating a “super-reality” (according to surrealism group leader André Breton), allowing the subconscious mind to express itself. Surrealism is one of my personal favourite art movements, and I believe that without it, art wouldn’t be what it is today.

There are four surrealism manifestos, however the first two were published by Yvan Goll (“Manifeste du surréalisme”) and André Breton, whose manifesto goes by the same name.


Breton’s manifesto on surrealism defines it as:

“Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express—verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner—the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.”



Much like surrealism, the Dadaists aimed to break the traditional “laws” of art. The movement began in Europe in the early 20th Century, as a revolt against traditional art. The work produced by dada artists is frequently absurd and irrational. The Dada Manifesto was written in 1916 by Hugo Ball.

De Stijl

Dutch for “The Style”, also known as Neoplasticism, De Stijl was a Duth art movement that began in 1917. It had a major influence on the development of abtract art, as well as modern architecture and design. The artists of the De Stijl movement focussed on geometric shapes, and line, often using simplistic forms and colours.

Further research into mottos, mantras and posters to inspire my own work:

Planning & Ideas:

I began with two brainstorms. The first was to figure out which manifesto I wanted to use, and the second was to bring out ideas for colours, composition, and fonts etc. Then I moved onto sketching out a couple of ideas into my sketchbook.

I quite liked my initial idea, however, once I sketched it out, I decided that I wanted to include some imagery, rather than just using text.

I got the idea to put my text into a pair of glasses – symbolising “focusing” and how you can change your perspective by looking at things differently.

I soon realised that this design was too busy. There is far too much going on and this makes it difficult to actually focus on the manifesto that is within the design. This made me redraw the lenses and try to simplify my design a bit.

After these sketches, I spent a couple of hours drawing out my idea onto my iPad. I thought this could be a good way to visualise my final idea in a digital format before attempting to create it on a program like Figma.





















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