A Blank Sheet of Paper

Early one morning, members of my graphic design degree group assembled in a student common area, ready to present our latest work to the course leader. I think the brief asked us to envisage an item we could send to potential employers to pitch our collective talent, but I could be wrong. One by one, we explained the thinking behind our final outcome, before receiving critique from the group. Responses to the brief were varied as always; some ideas lacked clarity or were over-complex, while a few demonstrated a clear vision.

Then it was David’s turn. David was a capable designer who compensated for any weakness with ample self-confidence. To put it unkindly, he was full of it. Still, what happened next exceeded all expectations. He stood up and audaciously held aloft a pristine sheet of A4 paper, before confidently explaining how this perfectly encapsulated his concept. A blank sheet of paper with the sweetest smell of bullshit.

Guessing that his spiel was conceived over breakfast, I looked forward to hearing the stinging rebutal that would surely follow. It didn’t come. The conviction of his bluster and bravado alone meant he was able to leave the room with his typical smugness fully intact. As we might say in Britain, he blagged it.

This incident happened fifteen years ago. Annoyingly, that I still remember his concept, only serves to prove its effectiveness. There’s probably a lesson here, but I’m not sure I want to learn it.

This entry originally appeared on The Pastry Box Project