Slow Design means great design, not necessarily pokey, or hokey.
Thoughtfulness and consideration are required for good relationships be they with friends or business associates. This idea carries into thinking about the relationship to the planet and it’s ability to care for all life on earth, not just humans. Additionally, our relationships to this ourselves, each other, the planet is all reflected in our lifestyles and choices, all reflections of our values. The slow design method is a way to stop and systematically check in with how we are designing and what we are designing to be of utmost quality. Here's more about what it is and why it is so amazing.
Beth Meredith and Eric Storm attempt to summarize the concept, stating:
Slow Design is a democratic and holistic design approach for creating appropriately tailored solutions for the long-term well-being of people and the planet. To this end, Slow Design seeks out positive synergies between the elements in a system, celebrates diversity and regionalism, and cultivates meaningful relationships that add richness to life.
Common qualities of Slow Design include:
• Holistic – taking into account as many relevant short and long term factors as possible.
• Sustainable – considering the cradle- to-cradle impacts and reducing harm as much as possible including the precautionary principle.
• Elegant – finding the simplest and most concise solutions that provide the desired results.
• Tailored – creating specific solutions that fit a particular situation.
• Democratic – keeping the process and results accessible to those using and impacted by the design and to non-professionals.
• Adaptable – developing solutions that will continue to work over time or that can be modified as needed.
• Durable – making sure solutions can be maintained over time while minimizing the need for repairs and replacement.
• Non-toxic – eliminating substances and processes that pollute or are toxic.
• Efficient – minimizing waste of time, labor, energy, and physical resources.
• Distinctive – promoting cultural, social, and environmental uniqueness and diversity.
Slow design is still a relatively new concept of design thinking, and its implications are yet to be fully developed and defined. It could evolve in the following ways:
• Longer design processes with more time for research, contemplation, real life impact tests, and fine tuning.
• Design for manufacturing with local or regional materials and technologies or design that supports local industries, workshops, and craftspeople.
• Design that takes into account local or regional culture both as a source of inspiration and as an important consideration for the design outcome.
• Design that studies the concept of natural time cycles and incorporates them into design and manufacturing processes.
• Design that looks at longer cycles of human behavior and sustainability.
• Design that takes into account deeper well-being and the findings of positive psychology. (Thanks Wikipedia!)
This way of seeing, thinking, and creating is not a new concept, but we have lost this ethos in much of what is happening in the world today and we are seeing the multifaceted consequences of fast and cheap. Slow design and intentional redesign and relationship building could do wonders for all aspects of life if we revive it.