As I look at Slow Movement and Slow Design and discover ways of looking at it, I find that there are aspects to it which has brought about this cyclical return to a need to slow down. The extensive deadline culture which is essentially present to drive forward at an accelerated pace, the wheels of commerce and economy, seeped into design as it did into other professions. With the stressful deadline culture came sleepless nights, dedication to work proved by a killing 24×7 schedule where client-centric work and the need to rush jobs through crazy deadlines were the heady concoctions of the times. How much of this is an assumed need and how much of this is reality is an interesting perspective to look into.
I am sharing below my discussion on this topic in the discussion forum from the course.
I do feel sometimes that this whole culture of urgent deadlines is sometimes over-rated. There have been times when we have stayed up nights to finish a client’s project, based on the assumption of urgency. And after dispatching it on time the client has often reverted almost a fortnight later with additions/changes when all the time we were thinking that its being processes to the next level. However, when the work comes back after a fortnight, the client again specifies how urgently its needed after the changes. I dont understand it and in time began informing clients that just like how they needed time to mull over the ‘finished designs’ we now needed adequate time to implement those changes…lol!…yes, I do find this so-called stress rather unnecessary and if I may add, over-rated.
I am at a personal crossroad in my life where I am running a studio, which is on the starting blocks and is demanding of my time and energy. I am unsure what all the rush with the client jobs is all about and I find myself intrigued with the concept of slow design, where I feel it will allow me to do the kind of work I have always wanted to do but however came under the pressure of the economic gains of doing high pressured client work with severe deadlines which has often made me wonder, why the hurry?
The work culture that encouraged this concept would have to be one that has been concentrating on economic productivity and increasing commercial value and sales of products, services and their offshoots thereof. Encouraging concepts like deadlines is a means to increase productivity and consequently sales. This is an important aspect of most business models. The questions that this culture consequently gave rise to were about the quality vs quantity of products, services, outcome of tight deadlines.
When multi-national companies have gone through the process of setting up business in India where the use of time has a multitude of interpretations, it has been a frustrating journey for these companies which tried to implement their work culture in a place where their approach, goals and ideals were alien. Devdutt Pattanaik’s TED Talk illustrates these differences and the reasons for this frustration in the following link with analogies of mythological references to illustrate his points and the reasons for the frustrations of the clash of civilisations. Because as we know ‘not all cultures live with the sense of urgency that others do.’ as Prof Mendia mentions.
Its, how he says, the difference between the objective and subjective worlds.
I would say that deadlines give many designers a false sense of the quantity of work that they project to others and themselves and make them feel that they are on top of things. In that sense, it does give some perhaps a false sense of respect. However, meeting these impossible deadlines time and time again has given clients the feeling that design is something that can be pushed to the last few weeks or days and that it can be done, since there are so many designers out there who are willing to take up the job and finish it…perhaps even compromising on the design fee in order to get the job. However, clients fail then to realise that it is just a matter of time when they are dissatisfied with the work and will have to re-assign the job.
is an article that sums up what most of us designers go through when handling client jobs and deadlines along with thoughts of how we would like to handle a job. I agree with everything that is being said in this article. I have said ‘no’ to a job, however lucrative, if I have felt it will compromise on the quality of the work due to the impossible deadline and take on what I can give my 300 per cent to.
is an article written in response or as an overall reaction to the earlier link. It presents a more positive outlook to the element of deadline and the reasons why it exists and why designers need to adhere to deadlines – how clients are never responsible for missing a deadline – how professionalism requires a designer to never miss a deadline.
The term ‘deadline’ came from the American reference to the line around a military prison beyond which escaping soldiers would be shot. http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=20000420
A kind of frightening reference when one analyses the ‘dead’ of the word deadline. However, today its still considered a necessary part of the vocabulary and requirement of any job, although there is an increasing awareness of the negative effects of the stress-filled, time bound, tight deadline jobs. An interesting example of the obtuse way in which work cultures are undergoing change would be that of Saagmeister. After every seven years of work, he takes a year off for a sabbatical, shutting his studio to reflect, imagine, play. He goes on to say that sometimes, the outcome of this year long break becomes the focus of their following projects. http://blog.ted.com/2009/10/02/the_power_of_ti/
At the end of Unit 2, an interesting suggestion posted by Bonnie was about whether I would look at actually trying out analysing aspects of slow and fast design by doing some examples of the same. Though I am unsure at this point how I would go about this, I think it is an interesting direction to look at in order to add logical substance to my thoughts on slow design.