News Flash: Referencing Master of Kung Fu in a Career Fair Is No Longer Useful

grabbed from Wikipedia page on Master of Kung Fu (

Recently I attended a resumé workshop for an AIGA Student Chapter. A number of professionals sat through the rudiments of resumé writing—all good stuff, of course and in the end, there was a question and answer period. During that time, I ended up answering a number of questions—maybe because I was most willing to be loquacious than anything else, but I was asked a question that in answering seemed to confound the students.

A student asked me what skills does one need to be a “successful solo designer”. Strike successful and this is something I can answer. I kid. I referenced the television show Master of Kung Fu which aired during the late seventies. The show followed the adventures of Caine who walked the earth, having adventures every week in search of enlightenment presumably. (I included the Wikipedia link). Also, note that Quentin Tarantino was a fan of the series, using David Carradine, the series’ star as Bill in the movies Kill Bill 1 and 2.

Well, the series always started with a flashback to the student’s training, always showing the young student mastering some skill and the flashback would always end with the saying “once you take the pebble from my hand, it’ll be time to leave.” So, the pebble-hand thing is like a final and the lessons is like the work. My point—long-winded as it was—is to say that those lessons become the life’s blood of a young designer’s understanding of business. Those lessons, wide and varied, each become part of the skill set that the young designer must use to stay ahead or at very least keep up with the changing nature of business. For that reason, I suggested that a designer who is planning to be solo should at some point be in the opposite situation—work for a time in a corporation or a design firm, to help them understand themselves.

Anyway, that was main point—which with great difficulty—I explained. The students are about half my age, so the show was lost on them and almost the analogy. I told this story to a colleague and she said: Why didn’t you use Batman Begins?

By AIGA Baltimore
Published April 22, 2010