If we had one mass societal realization in 2013—beyond the fact that privacy as we know it is dead—it’s that we need to unplug. All of these convenient screens have sucked our attention away from the ones we love.
So the holiday greeting that we received this year from global consultancy Wolff Olins was particularly salient. Dubbed Higby, it’s "a set of friendly interventions for those technological pocket distractions." In other words, it’s a little guy whose head shoves into your headphone/mic jack, and whose heart covers your camera, and whose arms squeeze around your phone and another person's phone, face to face, so that neither of you can see your screens.
"Higby isn't the first attempt to get people off their phones, and it certainly won't be the last," explains Senior Designer LA Hall. "We wanted to keep it positive and shift the focus to what the holidays are supposed to be about—being with loved ones. Making this smiley-faced little guy and a spirited little world around him kept that human and positive vibe we wanted."
And that’s the thing—Higby, which was conceived as a quick holiday greeting that Wolff Olins could print off on a couple of MakerBots—tackles a societal insecurity with so much positivity that you don’t just relate to its message, you want to act on its message.
"We loved the idea of manifesting Higby's idea into a physical show of affection between two phones," Hall writes. "People personally identify with their phones so much, they become mini physical avatars of ourselves. So when you sit down with a friend and your phones are hugging, Higby reflects that you both are in it together."
In fact, the early response has been so positive that the Higby may actually come to market. So it just might make the perfect stocking stuffer...for 2014.