Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

Create Slowly

The concept of slow design is one I've applied for several years. As time passes (quickly) and new technologies land on our desks, the expectation that we need to react at lightning speed to prove to the world we're always in the know of what's trending, is exhausting. Even if you love tech, and I do, you'll feel it sooner or later. We're endlessly bombarded with choices, jargon, reviews, monthly recurring revenues, and so on—that make us feel pressured, envious, and overwhelmed. But we need to bring balance to the pace at which we encounter the world and encourage a different velocity of engagement and creation. To fight against needless disruption so we can stay focused.

A core characteristic of creating slowly is patience. Being patient with ourself to:

  • problem solve
  • become proficient at certain tooling
  • understand technologies and languages
  • think creatively
  • think critically
  • produce something of quality

Slow design is about embracing the time-consuming process of trial and error so we can figure out the most elegant, considered, and sustainable solution. Being mindful of a product's lifecycle is where enduring design originates. But it's not just about being patient with ourself. Often, we work with and depend on others to see a product evolve. Appreciating that people work differently is important. It can be both a blessing and a curse at times. But when something is out of our control, all we can do is communicate openly and regularly so collaborative design will flourish (eventually).

When reflecting on an achievement, people often say that it's not the act of succeeding that's most satisfying. It's the process of getting there. I feel exactly the same. Design is not just about the end product. It's the journey that design has taken to be visualised, prototyped, iterated upon, tested, fine-tuned, and realised. For me, this is only approach to finding satisfaction and pride in my work.

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