Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

Reflecting on Minimalissimo

I was recently asked what my values are in life. It's a very tough question to answer without throwing out one word answers off the top of your head. And that's pretty meaningless unless you're prepared to elaborate on that word and what it means in relation to your life and experience. And one word that comes to mind when I consider my values is perseverance. It's something that I've come to know quite well in recent years. Ever since I took ownership of and began rock climbing, my attitude towards patience and perseverance has been pretty unrelenting. Don't get me wrong though, I'm very often left frustrated as hell too, but that's life. I can't control every outcome but I can keep trying, training, tweaking, experimenting, re-evaluating, and recalibrating.

Reflecting on Minimalissimo specifically, day in, day out I've researched, curated, collaborated, and created. I've trialled a lot of different things with the brand over the years. Some worked, most didn't. But I always learned something in the process. It's a passion project, but how long can a passion last? And if I'm persevering with this project, then I must ask, to what end?

Perseverance: persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

What is success? To generate enough income to support my lifestyle as a sole project? The means to simply curate for the love of good design? To give back to the design community? To create a never-ending minimalist gallery as some kind of obscure digital art installation? At this point, I don't actually know. But what I have acknowledged upon reflection is that our level of curation for minimal design is incredible. Not just in terms of consistency, but continual improvement. Minimalissimo has never looked so good as a digital gallery. And nothing even comes close to its level of curation on the web within this niche space. Call it positive affirmation, call it pride, call it confidence, or shit, even call it arrogance. The site is fucking gorgeous. So whether or not it makes me any money or not, this little pillar of the design community is still standing strong, carving out pockets of progress here and there to keep my love for this project as pure as a Japanese dental office.

Update: I'm tentatively planning on ending Minimalissimo by 2025 but keep it alive as a visual archive. The reason is to focus more energy into other projects.

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