Friday, October 19, 2012

The ABCs of Slow Design

Alphabet Letterpress Print by 1canoe2 on Etsy.

I've been giving a lot of thought to a simple, graphical way to explain the principles of slow design to people who have never heard of it. It occurred to me that, since slow design is collaborative, the best way to achieve that would be to reach out to the slow home, slow design, and slow craft communities to brainstorm a list of adjectives that could then be used to create a typographic poster, or a short message (like SLOW DESIGN) vertically down the back of our business cards.

I'd also love to use this list as the basis for a slow design blog hop! More details on that in a sec.

Sound good? I thought so. Let's get to it.

Slow Design is...
  • Antique, Artisan, Activist, Affordable, Authentic, Adaptive
  • Better, Bespoke, Beautiful
  • Cherished, Covetable, Cradle-to-Cradle, Creative, Collaborative, Community-centred, Charette, ComfortableCaring, Conversational, Curious
  • DIY, Desirable, Durable, Diverse, Democratic
  • Enduring, Ethical, Eco-friendly, Evocative, Engaging
  • Fixable, Found
  • Good, Green
  • Heirloom, Handmade, Healthy, Honest
  • Intelligent, Ingenious, Inclusive, Interactive, Intuitive, Inviting
  • Just
  • Kept
  • Local, Limited-edition, Luxurious
  • Modern, Meaningful, Mindful
  • Nondisposable, Now, NaturalNeighbourly
  • Original, Open-source, Observative
  • Precious, Preservation, Personalized, Participatory, Playful, Process-drivenPlace-making
  • Quality
  • Reuseable, Recycled, Repairable, Relaxing, RealResourceful, Reliable, Responsive
  • Sustainable, Simple, Shareable, Social, Smart, Soulful, Skill-building, SeasonalSensual
  • Timeless, Traditional, Thoughtful, Transparent, Terroir
  • Upcycled, Useful, Uncluttered
  • Vintage, Values-based
  • Well-made, Wabi-sabi
  • eXtraordinary
  • Youthful
  • Z

I have no idea what we will use for the missing letters, especially X and Z. ;-)

What would you add to this list? What terms would you leave out because they need too much explanation or are too politically freighted for some clients? I'll update this list based on your comments, with new ideas (highlighted) and crossouts (like 'Charette' above), as we go.

As for that blog hop! I am so excited to see how you all will interpret this topic, and so honoured to showcase your thoughts on slow design. Let's get started. (If you are participating in the blog hop, please also get the InLinkz code to add the list of posts to the bottom of your blog post.)





(If you are participating in the blog hop, please also get the InLinkz code to add the list of posts to the bottom of your blog post.)

Update: The month-long blog hop experiment is now closed! Thanks to everyone who participated, in the comments, on your blogs, and through twitter. I've added the highlighted words above, and a couple of cross-outs, thanks to your input.


I thought it would be interesting to compare our list with the words used in the text tags from slowLab's SlowLloyd project (seen above), and from the SlowLloyd project's website. Here's a partial list (they have not released a complete list at this time): adaptive, alternative, attentive, caring, commonality, connections, conversational, creativity, curious, deliberate, engaging, gestation, guardians, history, local, memory, mindful, mysterious, neighborhood, open, place-making, playful, possible, public, reliable, responsive, reuse, sensual, sharing, sincere, transparent, and witnesses. Naturally we'd already included some of these words, but I have added and highlighted a few of the missing adjectives.

What a fascinating and inspiring list we have compiled! Please leave a comment if you think of any other adjectives we should add to this open-source list.

Now comes the hard work of turning that into an appealing design that can be used to explain slow design to people who have never heard of it.

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