Join the fight against the global climate crisis by signing the updated First Things First Manifesto
The First Things First Manifesto was initially published in 1964 by 22 visual communicators, including design icon Ken Garland. The manifesto was a reaction to the staunch society of 1960s Great Britain, calling for a return to a more humanist approach to design. It protested against consumerism and the often trivial productions of the mainstream ad industry. Its solution was to give more attention to education and public service tasks in order to better society as a whole. The manifesto quickly gained traction and reached a national audience through the backing of radical MP Tony Benn and coverage from The Guardian and the BBC, both on television and in print.
At the turn of the century, 33 designers signed a revised version, labelled the First Things First Manifesto 2000, and in 2014 – on the original’s 50th anniversary – over 1600 designers from around the world pledged their commitment to the cause. With the ongoing destruction of essential living systems on our planet, this message has only grown more relevant.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, the manifesto has been renewed with a greater sense of urgency than ever before as the devastating effects of the climate crisis are unfolding before us. It has been updated by Marc O’Brien, Namita Dharia and Ben Gaydos, with the support of Sarah Harrison, Julia Yezbick, Karen Stein Shanley, Rachel Cellinese, and Rich Binell. Cast Iron, a branding studio with an emphasis on environmentally responsible design, created the new manifesto’s identity and website with the help of web developer Cody Whitby.
There has never been a more important time to make a stand, together.