Leaving a legacy isn't what we signed up for, but it is a definite possibility. So prepare yourself.
Ever booted up that scratched up and slowly dying MacBook Pro of yours to delve into a new project and think to yourself, “this project gonna stay relevant for 300+ years, no problem.” Yeah me neither. Because even though our magically creative minds are so wonderful at making things look pretty, we can be a bit leaden when it comes to thinking beyond that. The truth is, our works—the decent ones at least—will be around long after we have vanished. Boom. Now pick up the pieces of your blow mind and keep up sister.
My grandfather, an old school baker by profession, used to say, “Goddamit, just look at how beautiful my donuts are. They are the best-looking things in town, too bad they will turn to shit tomorrow.” Which was both allegorically and tangibly true. Those donuts, although perfect at 8 a.m., would indeed be poo by the following day. Lucky for us, our work as designers does not share that luxury. Not naturally anyway.
When we sit down and do work, like real good work, odds are it will be a part of the spheres it was built for, for a prolonged ass time. Segway-segway-segway, The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It’s a publication that has been around for almost as long as the United States has been a country. To put that in perspective, at one time it was typeset. As in, a poor designer, before they were even called designers, put little pieces of lead or wood into a printing press and printed that book. It was hand done, then later it was hand cut and photographed, and now with the touch of a button it designs itself (or at least that is what 98% of the sales department thinks)
In the Summer of 2017, the oldest continually running publication in North America got a redesign. Not that the timeless booklet needed it. This do-over was commanded by the group at Bluerock Design Co. The fresh design of this cornerstone of the checkout lanes is homage heavy to the time period from whence it came. Which makes sense.
If I had to foresee something, in true Old Famer’s style, I would say your work will endure even beyond your remaining days. Perhaps not as lingering as 300 years, but still. Follow the rules when you should, break the rules when you should, and above all do your best not to embarrass your great great grand puppies, will keep your project relevant for a long time.