During the early days of digital design some felt that the then new and somewhat cumbersome tools where a threat to the design process. It was feared that something would be lost if more traditional methods like pencil sketching and model making wouldn’t be the only or the primary tools in design.
Through the advancements in digital design tools, digital photography, photogrammetry/3D scanning, manufacturing & rapid prototyping the line between analog and digital can be crossed at will. A quick pencil sketch is digital and uploaded to the cloud within seconds and a clay model can be converted to a digital 3D model – all using your phone for example.
One could say that analog tools are now also digital – just the save-button can be found in a different place.
But the same works in both ways. Not every aspect of the physical world can be replicated digitally. So, it is equally important that digital data can be converted to physical artifacts. 3D printing is creating new unseen possibilities but also other more traditional tools (like CNC machining) provide the designer means to quickly test & evaluate the design.
Mixed reality technology combines the digital to the physical. By augmenting virtual objects to the physical world one can not only see but also experience virtual spaces & objects - even how complex or large in scale.
Designers have never had this much freedom in their workflow. Different tools (analog or digital) can be used & fused in a way that the best suits the project at hand.