Designer Manifesto 2.0.2

Ksenia Mik
6 min readApr 3, 2024

Beyond How-Tos and Expertise

“‘Olé!’ to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up,” — Elizabeth Gilbert

In any transformation, there is a phase of doubt. A limbo before an action. A necessary phase to move forward.

I’m in this phase of doubt.

And this is a manifesto for the creative practice. A declaration of principles I strive to stand for. A direction for the moment of uncertainty.

This is a gesture of self-compassion.


“Most research is me-search,” — Beatrice Beebe

People are much more than their actions. Our identity doesn’t equal the skill set, the social role, or the job. It’s compiled from all of them and beyond going deeper into just being.

i design, but i am an explorer at heart.

i’m no expert because expertise is conventional wisdom. i traverse, i examine, i try.

Design is my tool to explore. i step away from disbelief and step into the curious.

This is the identity i craft, not assign.


i choose my roles. i don’t fall into them by birth or by social norm.

i put on many roles throughout my life. i shift and change them as many times as needed.

All children want to grow up, to assume a given social role, to develop within it and become better at one it.

i don’t assume pre-fabricated roles. i craft my own from the many i find true. i take responsibility. i mature.

There is no right way to approach womanhood. There is no right way to be human. There is no one label that can encompass the whole being i am.

Because i am many different things and never the same thing.

“i want to apologize to all the women
i have called pretty
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is the most you have to be proud of when your
spirit has crushed mountains
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re pretty
but because you are so much more than that” — rupi kaur


Craft is to dedicate time, attention, and effort.

i show up. i play. i craft opportunities.

i don’t do my best. i don’t have to. i do because i care.

Craft is the invisible work that hides in details.

To explore is to craft. To study is to craft. To design is to craft.

Design is the key to discover the core of one discipline by interpreting it through the framework of another.

Through craft i learn. Through craft i improve. Through craft i inspire.

“Craft is care,” —

With love

“When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness,” — Albert Einstein

i follow by example of the great. i do things out of love. With love.

Because filling days only with pursuits and achievements is a universal regret.

“Everything I know, I know because of love,” — Leo Tolstoy, “War and Peace”

Love is gentle. And where there is no gentleness, there is no fairness.

“You lack tenderness; only truth, therefore, it’s unfair,” — Aglaya Yepanchina in “The Idiot” by F. Dostoevsky

Love is a choice. Love is a commitment. Love is a feeling and an act.

i choose where to dedicate my attention. i commit in full. i love.

On beauty

Beauty is agency. Assuming agency is beautiful.

“Agency is how we can act upon our desire to have a better life,” — Jeanne van Heeswijk

i act out of love. Because it is beautiful to act out of more than a pure incentive.

“When working on a problem, I never think about beauty; I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know that it is wrong,” — Buckminster Fuller

i don’t solve problems.

i act out of agency and bear solutions that are beautiful.

Beauty isn’t perfect. Beauty isn’t aesthetic. It’s the result of caring and paying attention.

i care. i pay attention to detail. i accept the nuance and complexity.

“I’m very happy to be unimportant and live in a place that has love and beauty. Art and love, that’s what makes the life worth living, while you’re building this big, gigantic, terrifying future. What a waste of your imagination,” — Valerie from the movie “Amsterdam”

To Nature

“- Universe is a machine that designs beautiful things at multiple scales, — Lex Fridman.

- So as Nature, — Neri Oxman.”

Nature functions on a much slower scale. It takes its time, energy, and thoughtfulness to produce something beautiful and resilient.

So i slow down. i trust the process. i take my time.

i shift my time scales. i follow my seasons. And i mature with humility.

Competition is the perrogative of people. Balance is a quirk of Nature.

We strive for the same goals: to evolve, to increase information, to reduce chaos. i am part of Nature.

It’s not up to Nature to adapt to us. It’s up to me to be in harmony with it. To be in harmony with me.


To grow is to be vulnerable.

To be uncomfortable. To be alone. To be in doubt.

i confront my fears. i adapt to the change. i allow a new perspective.

The world is dynamic and complex. It’s full of timeless concepts that come together in a timely manner. Why simplify it? Understand it.

“We almost always forgive what we understand,” — M. Lermontov, “A Hero of Our Time”

Do not understand it. Make sense of it. Do not make sense of it.

i learn to synthesize.

“The great challenge of our time is synthesis — coherence, intelligence, clarity, beauty. Not descrete solutions to isolated problems, but systematic design ecologies. The ability to understand and synthesize complex, diverse inputs across many disciplines into one compelling, immersive experience is the magic and meaning of design,” — Bruce Mau

i learn to inuit. i learn to align my head, my heart, and my gut. i learn to benefit from the rational, the intuitive, and the emotional.

“Intuition is the wisest form of intelligence,” — April Greiman

Losing control is sometimes the ultimate control.

May i keep showing up for the change.



Ksenia Mik

People-Friendly Deep Tech: Growth Design Strategies for Startups in Biotech and Life Sciences.