Ownership is a really interesting concept in the world of design because our industry is one that promotes the sharing and collaboration of ideas. Extraordinary things have come out of these partnerships (the association of Scott Schuman, Garance Dore, and Tiffany & Co. being one of my favorites), and we are left better and more aware because of them. But since so many people have had their hands in the pot, we sometimes have a too many cooks in the kitchen scenario and are unsure of who came up with the recipe in the first place. How do we know to whom to bestow proper credit?

Illustrator and designer Amy Borrell found a solution to this problem with her autobiographical book A Brief Account of a Life Lived So Far. In publishing, teams are built with an editor, writer, illustrator, and printer, and they all work together to produce the books we read and enjoy. Amy singlehandedly encompassed all of those jobs when she collected the sentiments from her experiences, collated these moments in alphabetical order, and created each section to fit within the embroidered binding she had made. She had complete control over each step of the process, and in turn, was able to pour her entire self into the finished product. There is no question here who did what, because it was all her.

Being part of a cooperative will always be beneficial, but doing something for yourself by yourself will always belong to you alone. Take that and cherish it for all its worth.