is an independent design, editorial, and research studio led by Jarrett Fuller. Our work takes shape across a variety of media, from books and websites to podcasts and installations and we work with clients large and small, around the world.

In addition to client work, we also produce experimental work, research projects, and original content, including Scratching the Surface, a weekly design criticism podcast;, an online archive of canonical graphic design texts; and other books and speculative projects.

Jarrett Fuller interviews Kevin Finn about the design journal Open Manifesto

Date August 25, 2022
Type Project
Jarrett looks at the influence of the quiet but persistent Australian design joural for Eye on Design

You probably don’t need me to tell you that the publishing world is a tough business. While the internet — and social networks — have put the tools of publishing into the hands of anyone with a smartphone, they’ve also made questions of gaming algorithms, virality, and likes and shares integral to building an audience. This is, perhaps, especially true for design publishing. There are more people talking about design — and especially graphic design — than ever before but that doesn’t make starting and running a design publication any easier. Despite this, it can still feel like we have nowhere to turn to for thoughtful and engaging design writing that moves beyond portfolio show-and-tells, trend lists, and celebrity designer profiles.

This makes the legacy of Open Manifesto, the quiet but persistent Australian print journal that published eight issues between 2003 and 2018, all the more remarkable. The brainchild of designer Kevin Finn, Open Manifesto’s modest tagline “some thoughts on design culture” obscures the breadth of their output. Over the course of fifteen years, they published essays by and conversations with well-known designers like Michael Bierut, Milton Glaser, and Jessica Walsh, thinkers and creators outside of design like Adam Grant and Errol Morris, as well as a broad range of local Australian designers who might otherwise have not found a platform in a US or European publication. Unlike the expected conversations around a designer’s best work or career trajectories, Open Manifesto attempted to dive deeper to uncover the ideas, identities, and issues that animated these careers. The best of these essays and interviews has been collected in a new book, now available from Formist Editions, capturing a specific moment in design history that feels as relevant now as ever.

I recently spoke with Kevin about the origins of Open Manifesto, how design publishing has changed, and how the questions asked in Open Manifesto’s pages were ahead of their time. Our conversation has been lightly edited.