At TEDGlobal, Carl Honore explained the motivation behind his book, In Praise of Slowness: While reading his son a “One-Minute Bedtime Story,” he suddenly saw the lunacy in his speed-obsessed life, and set out to explore the alternative: a worldwide slow movement that offered a different approach to eating, living, and being with each other.
Those of you who design (And redesign. And redesign.) for a living may appreciate, then, this essay that brings Honore’s concepts even closer to home. Writing in the influential blog, Design Observer, Pentagram Design partner Michael Bierut makes the case for Slow Design, using The New Yorker as a strong case in point. The New Yorker, he notes, first added a Table of Contents in 1969. Photographs were introduced in 1992. Today’s covers are virtually indistinguishable from those published 80 years ago. (In fact, the very first cover, shown here, has been reprinted on nearly every anniversary issue since.) The magazine’s resistance to trends in publication design is nothing short of radical. As Bierut wrily notes: “Designers are used to lecturing timid clients that change requires bravery. But after a certain point — 80 years? — not changing begins to seem like the bravest thing of all.”