Jon Alling
Jun 30, 2016 · 3 min read

Two words that perfectly describe Human | Crafted’s mission.

Human | Crafted is a product design studio in Madison, Wisconsin originally founded as a side-project by Philip Stankard and Jon Alling in 2013. In 2016, Jon turned that side-project into a full-time adventure. Now Human | Crafted designs and produces our own products with the mission to make our everyday lives a bit better. We also help larger companies let loose, act small, and regain some of that can-do, maker spirit.

“OK fine, but what is Made. Better.” -them


Product design is serious business, but sometimes maybe a bit too serious. Complicated by layers of management, silos, titles, degrees, egos, roadmaps, and SOPs. More often than not, no matter how large or small your company is, it’s best to just let loose and make something.

“But it’s not actually that easy” -them

“No, really it is” -us

We believe that an idea only becomes something of value when you finally try making it.

“But what if you’re that person who doesn’t work for the right company, in the right department, have the right degree, or have the plan all worked out.” -them

Even the best of us hold back from making an idea so we can think about it a little more, or worse we wait to show it to anyone until it’s perfect. Newsflash… there is no perfect.

At Human | Crafted we use what ever means possible to make an idea as fast and as early as possible. No fancy show models or highly polished samples, we mean something quick you can use and get someone else to use. Product version 1.0. This is how we conduct our own product design process and how we help other individuals and companies to do the same. Even the products that we sell are really just experiments, albeit versions 2, 3, or even higher. And it’s no surprise that not everything works out like we thought, but it’s how we learn, and learning is the most important step in making something better.


There are new products, good looking products, and well made products. We covet them as much as anyone. But at Human | Crafted, we also want to make better products. To us, better means it creates more value. It’s a product that does just what it needs to. It solves that annoying little problem, or makes something go a bit smoother, or makes your space more enjoyable. The trouble is, what a person values is complicated, and it’s almost certain to be different than what many others value. But we do our best to understand a person, and then make them something that helps, so we can quickly learn if it adds value. The faster we repeat that process, the more we reduce risk. And the more often we repeat that process, the closer we get to better.

Human | Crafted helps companies on either side of the physical/digital divide. If you want to talk about how you or your business can learn faster, reduce risk, and produce “better” products at the same time, lets have lunch. And as always, recommend, share, or comment on this post if you can relate.

Human | Crafted

Stories, ideas, and other writings from the team at Human | Crafted

Jon Alling

Written by

Engineer… Product Designer… Founder Human | Crafted.

Human | Crafted

Stories, ideas, and other writings from the team at Human | Crafted

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