Written Word 2.0

[originally posted here to denoulogy.com]

This post is still one of my favorites. In fact, since then I’ve become obsessed with the intertwining of digital and analog worlds. The written word just happens to be the purest form of seeing that evolution. Can’t wait to see where it goes….


During my last module of the Berlin School, some classmates and I decided it didn’t make an ounce of sense that as a race, humankind had not upgraded the written word. Words will inevitably be written more often in digital environments than in paper environments, and this is undoubtedly already the case for interpersonal communication. Why wouldn’t we capitalize on these advancements and create Written Word 2.0, specifically intended to improve communication clarity?

We started with a few basic principles….
1. The written word had already evolved to account for technology (t33ns prfr txtn 2 tlkn NEway)

2. We see words as images anyway (eevn yuor mnid wno’t btoehr to raed ecah lteetr)

3. Words can lose their intentions in intimate conversations that are limited to text (how would you respond to an IM that simply says “we should talk?”)

4. Words can lose (or change) meaning across translations (no, the Chevy Nova story we all heard in Marketing 101 isn’t true, but it makes the point)

So, how do we create Written Word 2.0?

We use color to help convey intent. Digital surfaces make adapting color easy, yet we rarely use color in interpersonal communication. All we’d have to do is map colors across emotions. Now, there are certainly conversations to be had to universally agree to which colors and emotions are included, but that’s not that hard. I heard that whole Web 2.0 thing was bringing people together to solve problems like this anyway.

So, here’s what we came up with as a first draft.


Here’s the project as presented:


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