Let’s pour one out for Berg. The group behind the little printer recently announced their imminent shut down.
Berg, awesomely short for the British Experimental Rocket Group, was officially focused on building web APIs and arduino-style tools for the physical things in your home to talk to each other and the internet.
The little printer uses these APIs to serve personal feeds that manage to imbue what’s basically the thermal printer from a cash register with a charming personality.
I’ve been trying to solidify what it is about the little printer and the other Berg projects that’s always resonated with me. Here goes: I think whimsy done well is the product of enormous bravery.
Whimsical things feel human and relatable when they embrace their inherent oddness, humour and imperfection. Building whimsical things takes courage to do something different, but also the ability to sell yourself and your values to other people. It’s also sometimes hard to justify in the typically shallow ways we look at business and design – whether it’s making a sale, solving a problem, or improving usability.
Berg may of died, but it’s whimsical things, whether it’s a smiling printer, a friendly greeting, or an animation tuned just right that help us humanize new ideas and the
0s that move us all forward.