#037 Out In The Open

Common Discourse is a weekly briefing designed to help others (and myself) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work. It hits your inbox every Tuesday at 9:17am.

If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider sharing it with a friend. If you haven’t subscribed yet, feel free to opt in below.

Last week we published a public facing write up that talks a little bit more in depth about what we’ve been building over the last several years at MOUTHWASH Studio.

We’ve always leaned more on the side of saying less and letting the work speak for itself — this approach has allowed us to form working relationships naturally with people through conversation as opposed to over-explaining ourselves and letting others assume what we can or cannot do.

But as time has gone on, we’re not the same team that we used to be.

We’re even better.

A year ago we were 4 people just trying to get by. And now we’re 11 people that feels like a family of diverse backgrounds and interests, but with a common goal under the studio. Everyone that works for MW.S gives it their all, every single day. We give it all for each other, for our clients, and our own personal growth.

We talk a lot internally about what we believe and why we make certain decisions.

Why we walk away from certain projects, structure teams in a specific way, and encourage disagreements.

With the Culture Manual, we felt as if our team, clients, and collaborators deserved to know that we’re not afraid to say the same things internally that we would to anybody out there in the world.

The process of writing also challenged us to think about the big picture. Sometimes the things you think about sound better in your head. Then you write it down and read it aloud and think, “Yeah never mind.”

Flannery O’Connor once said, “I write to discover what I know.”

If you believe in anything hard enough, you’d care enough to write it down and make it known.

— Alex

Ideas from me


Mediocrity is always in a rush which means urgency is just a race to the bottom. The person who cares only about speed is short-sighted because impact goes well beyond a launch day.

Nobody will remember if you met the deadline. Everyone will remember if you missed the mark.


The most underrated move you could possibly make in your lifetime is ask for help when you need it.

Quote from somebody else

“Starting takes guts. It usually means putting something down, looking in the mirror that is judgment, finding yourself ugly, and living with it.”

— Mark Edmundson

Links worth sharing

📚 MOUTHWASH Studio Culture Manual

⚫️ Klikkentheke for design inspiration

A New York Clock That Told Time Now Tells Time Remaining, NYT

🤔 You can only keep two

🌎 Google Maps as Sculpture

🐴 Endless Horse

😅 Instagram Struggles With Fears of Losing Its ‘Pipeline’: Young Users, NYT

🧩 ‘A Lack of Strategy is the Strategy’: what Comme des Garçons did next, Financial Times

Thanks for another week!

ℹ️ Read more about Common Discourse here.

📬 If you like this newsletter, please consider sharing with others who might enjoy it as well.

👉 If you’re new here, sign up to receive future briefings.

🗂 Here is every Common Discourse weekly briefing to date.

💬 Reply to this email to open up a conversation, I always respond.