I recently reread Carl Honoré’s In Praise of Slowness, a book that highlights the importance of not allowing the cult of speed to dominate every aspect of our lives, and it got me thinking (irritatingly as is the the way with everything I read) about how it might apply to the industry we work in. The slow movement is most famously/deliciously linked to the Slow Food organisation, but as per Honoré; the movement is about “quality over quantity in everything…”

 

There is a slow movement associated with pretty much every avenue of human endeavour now. Slow Parenting, Slow Cities, Slow Education, Slow Church… And of course, it not being the industry that ever passes on a potential faddish buzz phrase: Slow Marketing.

 

Naturally, marketing sometimes relies on speed. Being able to react to events will often give you an advantage over the competition. Speed can buy you the right spot in the media at the best price. And after all, advertising sometimes relies on quantity to ensure a message gets through to a target audience.

 

Now I don’t have a problem with any of that. Speed can be wonderful (and necessary) and I don’t think it’s a good idea, or an honest one, to wholly co-opt the slow brand for the brand makers. But I do think there are definite lessons that are universal and that can be applied to brand design as well.

 

I think we do some of these things naturally. For instance we don’t race into relationships with potential design clients, rather preferring to go at their pace. We put them first, we serve and listen, try to be open to both learning and teaching opportunities, all with a view to building a relationship as well as a finished piece of work. We know from experience that building a relationship at a natural speed will increase the quality of the end product, and on reflection, this ties in neatly with the philosophy of the slow movement.

 

And I would argue that there are further lessons one can draw when it comes to the design work itself. A ‘Slow Brand’, and the design that represents it, stands for something more solid. It is consistent, qualitative and, most importantly has a huge amount of respect for the target audience. It assumes that they don’t need to be knocked over the head with a club and bombarded into action through a flurry of noise.

 

Of course, you could argue (as we would) that a good designer should try to implement these ideals anyway, but it is never a bad idea to have an overarching set of principles behind your work that places the emphasis on quality.