victory has a thousand parents

Years ago, my initial interpretation of the phrase “victory has a thousand parents, but defeat is an orphan” was a cynical one. My take on it was that if a project goes well, people will claim responsibility. The same people will disavow their role if the project meets with a less favorable outcome.

As I reflect on this phrase, I see it has a second, more important meaning, a set of instructions. They are: successful projects are those that have many stakeholders.  To create victory: find a thousand parents.  Become one of the thousand.

Shew Design’s role in the success of Power Past Coal and the Bellingham Home Fund has been small. I feel others have been doing the heavy lifting in terms of the deeper strategic work, the ongoing planning and communications, hitting the pavement in dozens of different ways. Yet, it is immensely gratifying to be involved to in successful efforts and to see people using our designs to speak to the issues of the day. It’s a big reason why we signed up to be what we do.

photo by Paul K. Anderson


photo by Paul K. Anderson
photo by Paul K. Anderson
photo by Paul K. Anderson


Eric Shew is a graphic designer and front end developer living in Bellingham, Washington.

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