These days speed is everything. Speed to market. Instant access. Instant noodles.The internet, smartphones, vlogs, blogs and 24/7 TV, supermarkets and pharmacies create an ‘always on’ culture.
Creative endeavours, from art to music to design require time. Time to think, time to experiment, time to create. Whether it’s building the Sistine Chapel, the Forth Bridge or the Taj Mahal, a product of real beauty takes time. That’s the beauty of time. The longer you take to perfect your craft, polish a jewel, design a suit or build a cabinet, then the better, more exquisite, more valued a piece it is. It’s only by trying, failing, and repeatedly trying that real craftsmen gain true understanding of their specialism to create masterpieces. And this is true for a Stradivarius to a Fabergé egg.
This is one of the reasons why, today, hand crafted Steinway pianos, Koenigsegg cars, Francis Bacon Art, Patek Philippe watches or Alexander Price suits hold such fascination for us at exorbitant cost for the super-wealthy. So why do these people crave these products?
It all goes back to the idea of brand as a means of self-expression. Brand allows all of us to express who we are, or who we aspire to be through the wearing, eating, enjoying or living these luxury brands. So when everyone has got the mass-produced item, how else to express your individuality except by seeking the elusive one-off crafted creation?
Handmade has an intrinsic value: as a one-off, individual creation by the artist, captured in a moment of creative expression and available to you for a price that is materially more than the cost of production.
In our knowledge-hungry post-industrial world, we tend to yearn for the handmade. Designers have become the creators of taste and elegance for a generation of material culture seekers hungry for conspicuous consumption who have grown up on the mass-produced. And who frankly yearn for something nobler, higher and deeper to reflect their appreciation of the finer things in life. Handmade is sought-after because we yearn for quality, not quantity. And we want to associate ourselves with refinement, elegance and increasing sophistication.
It’s this desire for the sublime, for tasteful design that takes time to produce and that delivers a real connection to the artist and his/her craft that drives up the demand and the price.
In a world of the mass-produced then, designers are the key to creating something beautiful of intrinsic value. It’s important to remember this in our ‘must-have’, always on, now world.
We are the designers, the creators, the imagineers, the storytellers. You are the buyers craving that something extra, that special magic that distinguishes your brand or product from everyone else’s. So please appreciate what we create, trust in our capabilities and expertise. It’s taken much time to perfect our craft. The more you allow us the freedom (and time) to create a brand, a product or a design, then the more amazing the work we can produce - to excite, motivate and resonate with people, because it has special meaning, relevance and intrinsic value.
I always loved what an Associate Creative Director of ours from New York would say:
You can have two out of the three: fast, good and cheap. Take your pick.
• You can have good and fast, but it won’t be cheap.
• You can have good and cheap, but it won’t be fast.
• You can have fast and cheap, but it won’t be good.
People forget how fast you did a job, but they will always remember how well you did it.
Anthony Ryman is the managing director of Grow Qatar.