The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

David Pearson on Slow Design


david pearson melbourne writers fest WH Chong

Award-winning Australian designer and art directer W. H. Chong interviews David Pearson — who is giving a series of talks on book design in Australia this week — for his column Culture Mulcher:

I love the Gandhi quote, ‘There is more to life than increasing its speed’ (particularly reassuring words for a slow-working technophobe).

I do worry that many technological advancements are enabling us to achieve not very much, but at a much faster rate. For example, I cannot understand the very modern desire to produce work using a series of time-saving shortcuts when it is the duration of the working process itself that allows us to question, edit and fine-tune our output. To speed up or bypass this process is to give up on so much and risks the work lacking any discernible ‘human’ quality.

That said, I do work very slowly and sometimes think that a warm and welcoming hobbyist’s industry, like publishing, is the only place that would have me.

David is delivering a lecture, We Are What We Read, at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney tomorrow (Tuesday, August 25) at 6.30pm, and will be discussing contemporary book design at the Melbourne Writers Festival on August 29 and August 30, although I believe the second event is sold out.

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