The common connection between deep strategic thinking, a diligent design process, and the development of superlative digital code...is craft.
Introducing: Crafted + Coded
The phrase "Crafted + Coded" arose when Anthroware began concepting our first "proper" website five years ago. It was an early opportunity for the team to level-set on the personal and professional values that we bring to our jobs — each of us in a different capacity. In short, we aimed to identify these shared values, in order to shape the company we wanted to create together. We all quickly realized that a dedication to quality should be at the very top of the list. At this point, the eternal image of the craftsperson — calmly, optimistically and lovingly bringing new and useful things into the world — was a visual that stuck in our minds. Additionally, our founders were honing in on one of the key components of Anthroware’s offering: that all of our work would be done in the USA, thus providing clients with all of the benefits of having a hand-picked selection of highly-trained workers, and the skills they bring, at their fingertips — as well as providing a great livelihood to these talented workers.
During an early round of design for the site, with these ideas still swimming around in all of our heads, the design team snuck in an early conceptual sketch of the words, "Crafted + Coded in the USA," encircling a silhouette of the United States...and something clicked. Something about this particular word and image combination really resonated with the team, and the phrase soon found a natural home in the Anthroware lexicon. As we moved forward, from project to project, and solidified our internal mission, it became more and more clear that this concept was prescient, and useful as a touchstone for the measurement of success on each project.
Thus, this phrase has been around almost as long as Anthroware has and the values it represents have remained at our core as we've grown throughout the years. It was not until this year that we decided to lean into it, to adopt it as our mantra and produce graphics to focus our team around this unifying concept.
It's important for us to define what we're talking about here.. What do we mean when we say, "craft"?
(Very) simply put: to craft is to create with intention.
Or, as heard at a recent Creative Mornings event on this theme: “Craft is a catalyst for our identity and the soil for cultivating meaning. It is the instrument in which the authenticity of your being is communicated."
This term represents our image of the dutiful laborer and therefore, the genuine care with which we strategize, design and develop our products.
The second half of this important phrase highlights the objects of our craft – the digital products we create. To follow in the footsteps of the loyal workers before us, we must have a medium and an output. "Coded" speaks to the modern technological tools we use and the digital artifacts we build – the outcome of our collective efforts.
Keep it Real
Purpose and authenticity go hand-in-hand as key elements of crafting. When we encounter crafted products, we instinctively know it and connect to them. The quality is inherent. Subconsciously or not, these products speak to the heart. They communicate the effort, attention and skill put into every step of their creation.
The level of engagement that our team members have with our projects is consequential. We bring it all to the table and develop relationships with the results of our labor. Crafted + Coded is not just about front-end chops, database wizardry, or branding skills but also about how we work together, speak about our work and interact with others throughout the process. It is a part of everything we do. It is our moral responsibility. At the end of the day, we value our work because we value the people who interact with it.
Crafting demands diligence and passion. This means showing up. It also means making mistakes and learning — much like an apprentice striving towards mastery. It is in the honing of skills and the dedication of time and energy to that process that mastery is earned.
We are not implying that every product we make must be a perfect masterpiece or that our code is impeccable, but rather that we are striving to craft — to the best of our abilities — authentic digital products that will be beautiful and useful to the people we make them for.
That’s what "Crafted + Coded" is all about.
"Nothing should be made by man's labour which is not worth making, or which must be made by labour degrading to the makers."
— William Morris, assiduous polymath, my personal hero and leading figure of the Arts and Crafts movement (a 19th century rebellion against the dehumanization of work in an increasingly industrialized society).
Crafted + Coded is an ongoing initiative that we plan to expand upon with new generations of designs and goods that reinforce our mission of creating digital products of the highest quality.