Virgil Abloh’s 3% Rule

Part of iconic fashion designer Virgil Abloh’s ethos was to change something by just 3%. It’s a reminder we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. By putting our own unique spin on any idea we can change how others perceive it (and how they’ll remember us presenting it).

Here’s Sam Reiss describing Abloh’s 3% rule in GQ (emphasis added):

His remixes, whether for big or small items, felt both immediate, and direct. Mostly, they were superficial. I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense—more that they attacked the surface of the thing he was working on. His interventions were grounded in how an object looked, less its function and meaning. Here was a classic, cool-looking thing; here was a thing Abloh thought should be classic. He would rework items slightly or wholesale, often following what he called his “3% rule”: that a minimal, almost invisible change was enough to confer authorship.

We don’t need to follow the same stencil, or stamp out and sell anyone else’s work. The real work of the creative is making anything and everything our own. And if it only requires a 3% update to start, what are you waiting for?

Do read: “Virgil Abloh designed way more than just clothing” by Sam Reiss, in GQ for more.

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