The advantages of a DIY mindset

Following his recent talk at Offf Festival in Barcelona, Dice’s ECD Patrick Duffy shares how throwing himself into creative opportunities has allowed him to build an eclectic but always interesting career

When I started out as a graphic designer, a friend asked if I was going to be the next Peter Saville. “No,” I replied. “I’m going to be the first me.” Looking back, I’m not sure how much sense that response makes, but the hubris is evident: I would become so celebrated that even comparing me to one of the greatest designers of all time would be nonsense.

Though shameful to recall, that misguided arrogance landed me a job at Sleazenation magazine — a job I was wholly unprepared for. Less than a year out of university, with zero hours of publishing experience, I now needed to learn how to design a magazine, largely by myself, in four weeks. I don’t imagine Lord Saville lost much sleep — but this was the perfect environment for stress-testing a DIY mentality. The pages must be filled, every month, without fail, so I had a lot to figure out to meet the immoveable deadlines.

Putting yourself into those do-or-die situations when you’re young can be scary, but it’s the perfect time to do it. It’s unlikely you’ll have a mortgage, or kids to support, so you can leap into those ‘opportunity voids’ with little to lose. And you need to, because they don’t materialise often.

Cover of Sleazenation magazine, August 2000
Top: From Dice’s Weirdly Easy campaign; Above: Sleazenation magazine from August 2000