HUMAN BY WONDERLAND #5

A newsletter about design and creativity, and how they contribute to a better world.

Hello, friends.

Welcome to Edition 5 of HUMAN. Below you will find a teaser for the new WONDERLAND vision, prioritising the creation of designs and experiences that create meaningful value for both people and planet. We’ve also shared our usual round up of our favourite corners of the internet, and a deep dive into Chipotle’s digital pandemic survival. Finally, a few stills from Niarra Travel, a tour operator focusing on giving people unforgettable travel experiences without the negative impacts.

Enjoy!


The Need for Sustainable Digital Design

It’s no secret that global warming is an issue. In the last two weeks alone we’ve seen parts of Canada and the United States suffer through sever heatwaves - contributing to over 700 sudden deaths - and oil-related fires in both the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caspian sea. 

Thankfully, governments around the world are beginning to implement policy changes and laws to combat the drivers of climate change, such as CO2 emissions and single use plastics, but often they feel only half cooked in their impact.

It’s easy to lay the blame with politics and big business, and to focus on usual culprits  like plastic, agriculture, and oil. However, as as a digital experience design studio, we’re more focused on the environmental cost of digital products. What is the environmental bill attached to building a website, of sending an email, or scrolling through Instagram. In one of our previous editions of HUMAN we briefly touched on the incomprehensible amount of energy being expended through unregulated bitcoin mining, but what about every-day digital consumption.

As a studio that lives and breaths digital, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the impact that the websites and experiences we create have on the world. According to Jack Donovan, if the Internet was a country, it would be the sixth biggest polluter in the world, with respect to its energy usage. He goes on to argue that by 2025, the communications industry could account for 20% of the world’s electricity usage. 

With this in mind, we’re shifting our focus to ensure that we reduce - and ultimately mitigate - the carbon footprints of our projects, both for ourselves and our clients.

We’re doing this for 2 reasons.

  1. A simple sense of doing the right thing and affecting positive change.

  2. To educate the creative community on the role of design & technology and its carbon footprint and how to improve your online eco-credentials.

While we’re still early in our journey, watch this space and how it develops out of our current research, and later ideation, phase. And if you have any ideas, suggestions, or thoughts about how we could improve our digital footprint, or how you’ve done just this, then feel free to get in touch. 

We’re all rotating on the same marble, so let’s work together to create a future that’s more green than grey.



Chipotle’s digital key to surviving the pandemic

Already a strong contender in the ‘better for the planet’ space, Chipotle has begun expanding their new digital-kitchen concept for the post-pandemic world. As Chipotle CTO Curt Garner said in his interview with Fast Company, “coming into the pandemic, about 20% of our sales came through our digital channels. At the height of the pandemic that number was around 80%, and really in a matter of a few weeks we saw a 400% increase in the traffic”.

With the validation received through the pandemic, Chipotle has begun expanding on and refining their digital-first offering. This has included digital-only kitchen spaces within their retail spaces to ensure that the two lines can work independently without disrupting each other, as well as the launch of their first digital-only location at the end of 2020 that is purely designed for sales through the app.

While we applaud their successes in creating a strong and unique digital offering, what we were most impressed with is the introduction of their “Foodprint tracker,” informing people what the impact of their meal is with each sale. As mentioned by Garner, doing this in the kitchen is complicated to do, but through digital channels the complexity is greatly reduced. Through the app, Chipotle can share with customers the sustainable impact of their digital purchase, including carbon in the atmosphere, water saved, antibiotics avoided, soil health, supported organic land, etc. Not only this, but users can also keep track of their annual foodprint (excluding physical sales), and see the good they’ve done through the year by simply choosing Chipotle.

This is just one example of a brand using digital to expand their messaging and overcome adversity with positive results.

At WONDERLAND we’re always looking for brands who use digital in new and exciting ways, especially if there’s a ‘for good’ element involved. If you know of a brand that you think fits the brief, or want to be featured yourself, reach out to us at hello@wonderlandams.com and we’ll check it out.


Niarra Travel gives people unforgettable travel experiences without the negative impacts that can come with tourism. Niarra carefully selects travel partners that have marked and positive impacts on the ground, and with them work to deliver unique and ‘transformative experiences’ to their customers. By focusing on transparency and purpose, Niarra shakes up the traditional tour operator model by giving travellers unique and memorable experiences, while sending money and resources to communities that need them most.


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Thanks for reading,

Team WONDERLAND

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