The Lost “Manifesto” of 2006

We've been talking about this manifesto on our social profiles recently. Turns out the SJL spirit has been around for almost two decades. SJL Has only been around for two years.

The following is a cleaned up version of the manifesto Jason wrote in 2006 that isn’t technically a manifesto. 

The late great Ryan Russell asked the incumbent Penn State graphic designers to design a response to the follow question: “What are Three of Your Career Goals in Graphic Design?” 

In normal Jason fashion, he doubled down on honesty.

He dug it up to help share the heart of the grand vision he has for the agency with the team. Now, we are sharing it with you.


While this was written before I knew things like branding, marketing, IP development, and interns existed and my career has taken many twists and turns, the overall spirit hasn’t changed. Crazy.

Q: What are Three of Your Career Goals in Graphic Design?

I have no career goals in "graphic design" at the moment.

I fear that I have become so caught up in making sure I was on the graphic design path that I haven’t asked myself where the path was going, and even worse, I have forgotten why I started my journey in the first place. I’m pretty sure I have loved doing graphic design since I was young (even though I didn’t know it then), so I just want to get paid to do something I have always loved. What I do know, however, is that I refuse not to push the envelope. I understand that graphic design is not art, and I have even worked with a few stubborn clients in my days of amateur freelance work, but that’s no excuse to settle for the status quo. I Refuse to do work that my family and future children will not be proud of, and I will not use my god given talent to help market a False view of perfection to the unknowing public.

I still haven’t answered the question unless you believe saying what your goal is isn’t just as good as what your goal is. I’ll keep writing just in case you don’t.

As designers, we understand the power of images, and I strongly believe that exploiting the public’s lack of such knowledge is equivalent to letting a distracted old man get hit by a car so that you can take his wallet as he dies. The problem is that the non-evil graphic design jobs seem so dull. I mean, who wants to make road signs for a living or design card catalogs? I know there’s more out there, but sometimes it just feels like capitalist design is the way to go.

Oh, and teaching would be nice! My third goal, then, is to corrupt young, impressionable college design students with my views on the moral responsibility of design. I figure that the college years are very influential in young artists’ lives. And I think it’d be nice to see my name on one of those “most radical professor” lists.

Graphic design will be the scalpel I use to dissect the world and the stitches I use to put it back the right way.

*Cringe WARNING*

BTW, if you ever need encouragement as a creative, look at this document J designed in 2006 in comparison to our portfolio now. 

There’s hope for all of us.


Alicia Mountain

Alicia is Studio J Lorne’s Social media coordinator, a prominent eco-warrior, and an aspiring lawyer that could probably cross you over on the basketball court.

Jason Lorne Giles

Jason is the founder of Studio J Lorne and a bar-spittin’, hard-hittin’, IP-driven, creative polymath with a a penchant for problem solving.

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