Let’s get physical: Why analogue still has a place in the digital era
Those of us who are gravitating back to analogue in some way are not doing it as a rejection of digital; rather, we’re actually drawn to it as a complementary technology to the apps, software and hardware that we use every day, in work and at home.
We are adopting analogue because it provides something that digital simply cannot. After a long period using digital technology – 20-something years – we’ve had time to evaluate its benefits and also where it might fall short.
We’re rediscovering analogue – or, for young consumers, adopting it for the first time – for two reasons. The first is for purpose and productivity: when we feel it delivers a better performance. So, for example, we take notes in a Moleskine notebook not out of a sense of nostalgia or romance, but rather because it is a functional action that delivers a different result from recording ideas on a screen. And after using both, we are finding a combination of the two that works.
You see this most interestingly in digital companies, which, far from being Luddites, have the best technology at their disposal. Google, for example, uses paper in the first stage of product design. All designers and engineers take a mandatory course on how to draw these things on paper. This is because Google discovered that it makes the ideas better and less constrained than if they were created using software.