Slow Company

Fast Company has two interesting articles today. Both are short and both are packed with insight.

In the first, design writer Sam Harrison observes the three techniques Bill Clinton uses to captivate audiences. If you saw the former president’s speech at the Democratic National Convention last night you were reminded of what an amazing orator he is. If you read the article, you’ll be understand why (and be treated to his painfully long and boring speech from 1988 in support of Michael Dukakis.

The second is a condensed interview with 37Signals CEO Jason Fried. In it he describes how and why he is working to build a “Slow Company” and why his business hero is his cleaning lady. Besides being provocative and inspirational, Fried’s recognition of the analogous talents of others resonates with me. I rarely find myself ‘inspired’ by graphic design. When I see great work I take note of it. I admire it. Sometimes I even envy it. But I’m not often inspired by it. On the other hand, a great speech, a well-design product, smart dialogue, or a crisply-edited sequence of film often holds more relevance to the design problems I face than graphic design itself. Having a broad world view, exposing yourself to art and literature, learning about other businesses, etc. — all of these hold lessons for design, leadership and human nature that will make you a more effective communicator, and a more creative designer.

What are some of the non-design sources of design inspiration that resonate with you? Post below.