{lesson} To swear or not to swear?


shit that mattersI admit to being hesitant about posting cuss words. My youngest son has always assumed the role of deputy sheriff of the swear police… so I feel plenty of guilt when he catches me dropping a swear bomb.

I’ve always felt that cuss words are best when treated like italics in well set typography.

I suggest they be used sparingly. A properly placed f-bomb has a much bigger impact when inserted at a moment least expected, and an even bigger impact if used by a person you would never imagine uttering such a vulgar word.

shit pins

tre pin
Tre McClendon, master buttonmaker.

I actually went so far as to use it in my TEDx Utica talk. I struggled with this decision, but ultimately I chose to put it in. I’m aware that some of my friends, relatives, or potential collaborators might be turned off by that kind of language, so I worked it in gently and only to make a point. I’ll post the link to my talk and I hope you will chime in on how you feel about my bad language, and whether or not you are offended. FYI my Aunt is a Franciscan Catholic nun, and she and the other sisters thought it was a hoot.  John Zogby, the well known political pollster, told me he was “glad I said it.” With those two approvals I feel pretty comfortable with my decision.

In order to get my message to a younger audience or a group that doesn’t need to be taken by surprise to get their attention…. here is the tamer, milder version – Do Stuff that Matters.

Illustration by Alexandria Compo
Illustration by Alexandria Compo


Alex Compo

The illustrator of the above Do Shit and Stuff that Matters design is a former student of mine Alexandria Compo. She is a talented illustrator, musician, song writer and artist. It is my mission to help connect young, old or just plain ambitious people with rewarding projects and guide them into successful creative careers and collaborations.

Alexandria skillfully treated shit with beauty.  Spirals, honey combs, sprouts, butterflies and paper airplanes to send out a message that matters using a contemporary limited color palette and her soft homespun style. Alex knows how to bring it to the table — check her out [here]

For those of you looking, The following link was posted by a friend of mine… I think it is hilarious.

101 Cuss Words that Christians Can Use.

The original campaign

A few years back the folks at COMMON and Threadless teamed up and created a “Do Shit that Matters” campaign and my current and former students participated. We didn’t win the top honor but we came really (blanking) close. Below is the design that was selected.

These are the designs available from Threadless by Georgia Hill.



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