Infographic: An Entire Tome Worth Of Innovation Advice, In One Chart

Young San Francisco designer Joey Roth doles out life advice in elegantly letterpressed posters.

Infographic: An Entire Tome Worth Of Innovation Advice, In One Chart

Urban dictionary defines “hustler” as “someone who uses their brain to make it in this world.” Notorious BIG, on the other hand, preferred levity: “Advancin’, From duplex to mansion.”


San Francisco designer Joey Roth offered his own definition in 2010, with a diagrammatic poster that became wildly popular online. By Roth’s estimation, a hustler is someone who does equal amounts of working and talking, as opposed to a martyr, who only works, and a charlatan, who only talks. Printed at San Francisco’s Dependable Letterpress, the beautiful little poster became something of a mantra around many an office–including ours–before it sold out.

Today, Roth released a new poster that functions as an appendix to the hustler classic. It shows a disassembled AK47 bullet, where each piece represents a different part of his design process. The print will be on sale through Roth’s website in a limited run of 1,000.

Because we don’t know much about automatic gun ammunition, we contacted Roth for an explanation. He broke it down thusly:

“Inspiration is represented by the primer,” he says. “A small explosion puts everything in motion.” Apparently, inspiration is a tricky business: “Obsession with your interests alone leads to unproductive fantasy, while obsession with capabilities alone leads to paralyzing fear. Inspiration ignites when you’re brutally honest about both.” The explosion from the primer is controlled by the shell casing, labeled as “discipline,” which “contains and directs your energy.”

Gunpowder represents the risks implicit in the design process. “When you start bringing an idea into the world, you don’t know how it will behave,” says Roth. “If the idea is worth anything, there’s no precedent. If you fear or try to mitigate this uncertainty, the inspiration will remain an idea.” The bullet tip? That’s humility. “Design your project to cut through apathy and reach those who will appreciate it, but realize that once it’s in the world, its success and failure are no longer yours. Temperature, dew point, and Earth’s rotation affect a bullet’s flight as much as the shooter’s intention.”

Where is Roth getting this stuff? “My day job is product design,” he explains. “These infographics are inspired by things I learn through work–both in design and growing my business.” In his free time, the 27-year-old manufactures and sells his own work through his website, where you’ll find stuff like these ceramic speakers and this pretty little teapot.

But Roth is quick to point out that he’s no expert. ”These are concepts I continually struggle with. It’s like one patient in a hospital giving advice to another, rather than a doctor treating a patient.”

About the author

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan is Co.Design's deputy editor.