It’s difficult to get a job because we must be able to balance so many skills. When it comes to our portfolios and resumes, we must portray that we are designers and that means having some sense of graphic design: are these graphics good or not?

As designers, we are held accountable for all that we do. We must have reason for every detail, of every product, during every day. We must interpret and understand a variety of fields. We are artists, engineers, creators, inventors, anthropologists, computer geniuses, and graphic designers all in one. We are the Sea Captains of the modern world.

Sea Captains were the most knowledgeable individuals of the old world. They had to be good at everything: swordsmen to defend their ship on land and at sea; mathematicians to plot their destination; accountants to organize their finances; leaders to approach lumberjacks, tailors, woodsman, and investors to build/repair their ships. On top of all this, most people had only seen one one-millionth of the entire world. It’s no wonder they thought the world was flat because they could only see that the Earth extended infinitely in every direction from where they stood. Sea Captains lived their lives on the open ocean. They were the first to think of the world as a whole. They first realized that while one location has an abundance of one material, another location would be deprived of it while having an abundance of another material the first location lacks. Essentially, they took in every field and realized how they could use it to their advantage.

If you want to become a good designer, take note of the Sea Captains. Perhaps not literally, but we should think of ourselves and our work as it affects the world as a whole. We must be and do everything. We are the curators of the world. We are 21st Century Sea Captains.

Read more on the subject in Buckminster Fuller’s book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.