The Quiet

So I recently stumbled upon The Quiet Place Project from a random link in a friend’s Facebook page. And proceeded to spend twenty minutes on the site, just listening to the music and meditating for a little while.

If you haven’t heard of it, go to the site to check it out. Who knows? It might be inspiring. Or it might be a waste of time. I’m not entirely sure.

But something about it worked, and I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s the music, which is ridiculously peaceful, or the text effects – the text falling so smoothly off the screen as it scrolled. Or even the font, or the colors…as a designer, all of those aspects were details I paid attention to. Somehow, even though the project has such a simple message, even though the message is written in such a colloquial, common way…it garnered quite a bit of attention. And it is capable of impacting people’s’ lives, some of them profoundly. Perhaps even mine; I’ve started meditating quite a bit recently.

I wanted to find out why.

The message itself – that we all need a little quiet, is not a new one. I’ve heard that before, in my friends’ rants, from various lectures and assemblies at school, even from various essays I read. There are as many people praising the internet and the instant communication as there are lamenting the loss of privacy and quiet, and as someone who barely knows how to use Facebook properly, I don’t really fall into either camp. By all means, The Quiet Place Project should not have been anything special.

So maybe it was the writing. All of it was composed of short sentences. Very casual tone, very simple words. Not much to work off of, in the usual sense. The one thing I noticed about these sentences was that they were almost all commands, addressing the reader / listener directly. And they were all exceedingly gentle, even replacing ‘press the space bar’ to something like ‘gently squeeze that key now’. That gentleness may have given the commands even more power, as it highlighted the entire tranquility and relaxed tone of the whole project.

Even more important than the text itself was the mood surrounding the project. The colors used on the site are very light and faded, with the text being a soft grey instead of black to reduce contrast. The background, too, is a light grey, rather than white, which makes that part less harsh as well. When the text scrolled off the screen, instead of a hard transition, the text faded out slowly and dropped downwards. Normally, that kind of JavaScript effect isn’t used often on websites, but it was effective in preserving the calm mood in this particular site. And then the music, too, which no doubt enhanced the mood even more.

But in the end, maybe it wasn’t all of that which made it popular. Maybe it was just because it had somehow spread around, by word of mouth, by linking, somehow, and then somewhere along the way, people found something insightful or meaningful in the way it was presented. Maybe there’s no use trying to sum up all of the parts – it was powerful in its own way, and for that reason, the design of the site and the execution of the message turned out pretty well.

And I am fully aware that even though I still don’t understand its meaning, I’m helping to support the project in a little way, too, even by writing this. I don’t agree entirely with the message, considering that I believe waiting and even some forms of relaxation to be a waste of time, but it still is an insightful, meaningful little site.

That is why I decided to share it, as well.

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