Decent Behavior

At the age of 14, George Washington wrote down 110 rules under the title Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation. These rules were drawn from an English translation of a French book of maxims and were intended to polish manners, keep alive the best affections of the heart, impress the obligation of moral virtues, teach how to treat others in social relations, and, above all, inculcate the practice of a perfect self-control.

Perfect manners and self-control were certainly not at the top of my list of priorities at 14.

Decent Behavior is an exploration of a selection of these maxims, translated for our time. While some seem more absurd, others still ring true in today’s sometimes more self-interested world. As Washington’s text was an exercise in penmanship, this site, a blend of the digital and the analog, is a mixed media exercise in translation, demonstrating a combination of hand-drawn type, cut paper, 3d type, illustration, photography, and GIF animation.