To pursue craft is to make things that will last.

Not that every crafted object needs to be timeless and work perfectly for all of eternity.

(A few thousand words await order to serve this topic, but the tl;dr version is a simple example – imagine the perfectly crafted website from 1995. Not so wonderful now, is it? So meh to timelessness as a requirement.)

Our web, our technology, our requirements, and our interests all move too fast to make chasing timelessness the same as chasing the feet of rainbows.

But sustainability is different. A sustainable product is something that’ll never appear broken or too stuck in its time. It’s something that can take the dints of being moved around and wear them with charm.

Worrying about sustainability is to worry about the smallest details, but not as an insurance against someone noticing some defect today, but to guard against our product breaking as people notice large splits in the wood, or a slightly-splintered edge, in ten or twenty years.

It’s to build a product as best as it can be built with the tools and techniques available, without the worrying hope that weak legs won’t tip the China cabinet over when the air gets a bit damp.

For the web it means not relying too heavily on hipsterisms, nor filling our code with poorly constructed patches instead of understanding and fixing problems as they should be fixed.

Above all, it means being sure that the problems being solved are both real problems, and ones worth solving.

Real problems are the ones that can at least be understood for quite a time after they arise, even if they no longer need to be solved. It’s the difference between fixing the symptoms, and finding a cure.

Are you making things that’ll work well enough for a few weeks or months, or will work well for a few years?

If we can get clear on what this idea means to us, a lot of the solutions we come to will become more obvious. Harder, but more obvious.

Which will it be? Will you rather fix something so it’s good enough for now, or would you rather take the harder path and make something that’ll stand tall for longer?

How do you make sure things will last? No matter your field (designer, developer, baker), I want to hear if the important parts of your job are done with sustainability in mind, and if so, how do you achieve it?