The Human Digital Manifesto

Originally published as a booklet for my side-project Design Dogs

The final implication of all digital communication is analog… physical. The digital is just an abstraction from the real.

The only problems that matter are real-world ones. If we use it creatively, the digital could help us raise the standard of living across the globe.

But the digital realm also threatens to take us away from the one we actually live in and need to work on.

To fix the problems of the day and enhance the human experience, we have to take advantage of digital efficiencies without being infatuated by them, and focus on what matters: life.

It’s all so new. We’ve just begun finding our feet, learning step by step what is possible, expanding our imagination one degree at a time. The startup and app explosions are exciting, but we’re just toddlers.

At this stage it’s not about technical capacity, it’s about what we choose to focus on.

Nothing can help us look in the right direction.

Designers have a lot of information to deal with. We think we need more than we do. Fads, and even the UX revolution, are blips. There are so many superfluous labels, rules and methods.

While everyone is shouting in an echo chamber, it can feel strange to remain in silence and tune out. The key is to see what is really important and focus.

As we move forward, grow and learn, we’ll need less to do more.

Being unique is our native state. Each of us have amazing internal tools, which can easily be obfuscated by external ones. We won’t find them in endless articles or tweets. We need introspection and integrity. The most important skill is to hold our own centre from where we can see clearly.

Visual trends are coming full circle, we’re entering a post-era era.

Technologies may advance, but we’re looking backwards for inspiration not forwards.

New music, even in electronic genres, is being humanised. Art rich in texture and imperfection is seen more online. The analog is regaining its value inside the digital, just as it’s regaining its value in the real world, with the resurgence of books, CDs and vinyl.

People want to touch again, they want to feel.

To solve the big problems, we need digital tools, but also lateral thinking.

What can we do with what we’ve already got?

Design Dogs was conceptualised to improve real life through humanised digital communication.

But it was also founded on a customer service ethic — that designers should be more like dogs: friendly, loyal and responsive (house trained is assumed).

We don’t want to drop our work like a mic and walk off leaving a wake of confusion. We want to support our clients like a pack.

We don’t want to rest on our laurels or be irreproachable designer gods. Design is just a job and it’s our purpose to do it humbly and eagerly.

Basically, we want to be a best friend for our clients, or anyone we deal with.

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