Trends 2019

2019 is the year of circularity, desire for trust, seamless experiences, and invisible technology. Oscar Berg & Kristina de Verdier share 5 trends that are changing people’s everyday lives worldwide and creating new realities for every company.

As we get exposed to constant environmental alarms, we start to question our current consumption patterns. We turn to companies to respond and make action of their promises. At the same time, the world is becoming ever more digital. We expect new experiences, simplifying and enriching our lives. We expect seamless experiences across physical and digital touch-points.  We don’t think of a product, brand or communication as separate things. As consumers we are also seeking products and services that enable self-care and a healthy lifestyle. The desire to live a more mindful lifestyle is adding up on the pressure on companies to change.

Companies must show they care for both the consumer and the planet. They must design holistic, seamless, and empowering experiences. They must have a clear strategy for all the components of their brand. How can a company offer experiences where the technology is not even noticed, as if it is invisible – at the same time giving consumers superpowers?

#1 Trusted Truth

In a culture of trust, people dare to share the truth.

The technology revolution is hopeful; fighting Parkinson with sensor technology, treating patients in remote places, leveraging artificial intelligence to speed up sustainability. We often hear about innovations of this kind. However, we rarely hear about advances in ethics that need to follow such development. If this is not addressed, people will lose trust in technology. Every day, we get reports from dysfunctional politics, business processes and ethics. This makes us more cynical and creates a growing desire for answers. As consumers we are expecting more information from the producers and want the right information early on in the process. We expect relevant information in every experience and will take proactive action if this is not fulfilled. Transparency is part of the solution, but needs to come together with privacy!

The increasing pressure on organizations to offer transparency and privacy is, of course, a challenge. It comes not only from consumers but also from employees, investors, media and government. In such a setting, creating a culture of trust that builds on open and honest communication is the only feasible strategy. It is about removing barriers that hinder people from accessing the information they could need to make better decisions. In a culture of trust, people dare to share the truth.

 

#2 It takes a circle to be circular

We don’t need the talk, we need the action!

Consumers are getting more aware of the negative impact their consumption has on the planet, society or themselves. People want to be responsible, but it’s hard to change habits. As Deming’s 94-6 rule states, only 6% of problems can be attributed to the individual and the rest to the system. Why aren’t there highways for electric bikes as there are for cars? Or why aren’t all parking lots equipped with electric chargers? Why is it often a lot cheaper to travel by air than by train? If we don’t change the system to support and encourage new habits, change will not happen. The inability to affect the system creates frustration among us as consumers.

What needs to happen globally, is a transformation towards a circular economy. The products and services we buy and consume will no longer support our own needs. They are a part of a much bigger system where the goal is zero waste. In 2019 we will need to continue pushing the boundaries of the circular economy. We need to rethink not only products and services, but the entire value chain. Companies and organizations will need to work together, across silos and industries, to enable behavior change. They will need to provide a continuous flow of triggers, coaching, rewards, knowledge, and insights that help people develop and sustain new behaviors that are good for earth and humanity. Sustainability has up to now, in too many contexts, been seen as good PR. In 2019 consumers and the planet don’t expect any more talk – they need to see action!

 

#3 Curated Care

Healthcare is moving from acute and reactive to proactive and personalized

In 2019 we are going to see a rise of brands in the health space. The plant-based revolution continues, and sleep problems have now become a public health epidemic. Researchers are linking lack of sleep to cognitive functions as well as to emotional intelligence and mental health. New tech products aim to help people with their holistic health, such as nighttime wearables, food trackers, and smart pillows.

Technology is helping us track and analyze everything from sleep quality to screen time, nudging us to act and reflect. The healthcare system, on the other hand, stands in front of major transformation as digitalization enables a shift from reactive treatment of illnesses to proactive and preventive actions for increased health and well-being.

The WHO report, titled ‘Everybody’s Business’, highlights how our own health is no longer outsourced to healthcare professionals. It’s down to us to take responsibility for it. That’s not just via our lifestyle choices. We also use our devices to capture data, identify patterns, and create new habits. This, in turn, will change the way we interact with the healthcare system.

Different countries are at different stages in the transformation towards a more proactive, personalized, and patient-centric healthcare system. What is true globally though is that the new generation of consumers is more open-minded to the definition of health. They see technology as a mean to improve life quality.

 

#4 Frictionless Experience

Seamless physical & digital

The physical versus the virtual experience is no longer an either-or proposition. As consumers we are not separating our on- and offline worlds. It’s all reality, important and complementing useful to us. As these worlds are merging, there is a growing desire for smoothness and integration between analog and digital. The best experiences are the ones where we don’t really have to think about technology. The technology is invisible to us, making our lives more convenient and frictionless than ever before.

A frictionless experience is not just about providing access to services and products through different channels. Friction still exists between different touch points in a journey, between physical and digital, and between our previous experiences and the current. This friction disrupts our workflows, adds cognitive load, and causes frustration and stress. The more we become aware of this friction, the more it will hurt.  

Our smart devices will help us more in each situation, being aware of the location we are in and what we need to do. Sensing what is in our close proximity, whether it is resources or people. Helping us navigate to where we need to be, or what we need to do next. With connected sensors and devices, our physical environment will also adapt to our needs and situation. We readily embrace new technology and services that integrate seamlessly into our reality. That support us instead of disrupt us. It is in the marriage of technology and simplicity that companies will be able to connect with us in new and exceptional ways.

 

#5 Co-creation Economy

The power of collaboration

Co-creation is all about the very simple idea; that working together is better. Digital co-creation is the new way of creating value across all levels of society and business, across sectors and industries. It knows no limitations as to how many can participate in a design process, where they come from, or what their background is. As consumers we seek the opportunity to create our own solutions to our problems. A digital co-creation process empowers us to do this, allowing us to tailor products and services to better fit our needs and wants. This goes beyond the concept of prosumers, where consumers play an active when goods are mass customized in the production process. A consumer can now also be the designer, and even the brand.

Companies must adapt to this new reality to survive. This stretches from inviting consumers and partners to co-create new products or services to enabling anyone to launch his or her own brands and providing access to marketplaces.

Being truly customer-focused in 2019, means seeing the potential of ‘teaming up’. Teaming up and collaborating with end-users, influencers, experts, and even competitors. As consumers we will embrace brands that, with a win-win mindset, provide platforms for digital co-creation.

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About Oscar: Works as Business Designer and CEO at Unicorn Titans, a Swedish digital innovation agency. He’s a frequent keynote speaker on digital transformation and the future of work, and author of Superpowering People – Designing The Collaborative Digital Organization and Digital Workplace Strategy & Design.

About Kristina: Founder of ambalaj.se and Design Director at KDV Design Studio. She helps companies navigate through complex design & innovation projects and through strategic practice delivers clear and actionable guidance to make sure the insights are turned into human-centered design solutions. She’s a frequent trend speaker and coaching organisations in design thinking.

Graphic design: Mats Tejre

By Kristina de Verdier on 5 February, 2019

H&M Take Care

H&M has high sustainability targets. In order to engage the customers also to act more sustainably, a new concept is launched that will inspire and help them take care of their clothes by preparing, fixing and washing in the right way: H&M Take Care.

 

Take Care – a new concept Open Studio Stockholm has developed together with H&M. It’s a step towards a more sustainable future where H&M inspire the customers to take better care of their fashion favorites. Repair, remake and refresh!

In all clothes there is a patch with care instructions that tells you how to wash (or not), iron and dry the garment. The care instruction’s aesthetics became our packaging idea. Form, typography and symbols have been applied to enhance each packaging so that each product, in the double sense, stands out on the shelf. Take Care’s product range includes everything from detergent, stain remover and sneaker wipes to sewing kit and patches that can repair holes and hide bad stains. The launch started in the summer of 2018 when the concept was rolled out in Germany, closely followed by France, England, Norway and Sweden.

By Kristina de Verdier on 5 February, 2019

Origami design for a truck – 10,000 folds!

James Cropper, the UK’s most innovative paper-maker, has recently completed a unique design project to transform its paper delivery fleet in partnership with paper artist Kyla McCallum of Foldability. The brief was challenging, the artwork had to communicate the intrinsic beauty of James Cropper’s bespoke papers, be delivered at a huge scale – the full length of an articulated truck – and to an unprecedented quality.

JC_Foldability collaboration

A creative collaboration between UK paper maker, James Cropper and London-based studio Foldability. Through the shared medium of paper, James Cropper company approached Foldability to help create a new look for the James Cropper brand. The result was crafted paper sculptures which use the principles of origami and geometry. The creative shows four paper sculptures which include over 10,000 lines in total, each one folded individually by hand before being shot with a 50-mega pixel camera. “I wanted to create pieces with interesting geometric patterns that could work at the largest scale and reflect the precision and craftsmanship that James Cropper is known for” says Kyla.

“I came across Kyla’s work on Instagram and it immediately struck a chord”, explains chairman Mark Cropper. “Her work transforms a flat sheet into something dynamic and multi-dimensional that redefines the material. It is simple, but beautiful and completely authentic. The fit was perfect”. Following a trip to Kyla’s East End studio to find out more, Mark commissioned her to create four paper sculptures, each to be made from Kendal Green paper, James Cropper’s signature colour.

“Every fold and crease is visible, even the texture of the paper itself”, adds Mark. “The final result is fabulous. A dedication to quality, and every sheet of material tailor-made.  The three dimensionality is also very fitting, providing a link with our newest paper product Colourform, a fully recyclable alternative to moulded plastic”. At the heart of the project is the company’s Kendal Green paper, a bespoke colour based on a woollen cloth the area was famous for in the middle ages.  The original pigments used to dye the cloth were identified and the colour brought back to life in James Cropper’s colour lab.

You can see a video of the process here.

By Kristina de Verdier on 19 December, 2018 In , , , ,

Zero Waste Bistro – Circular economy model

Addressing leftovers in the hospitality industry, Zero Waste Bistro sources and serves sustainability

A pop-up restaurant that is built from recycled food packaging and that composts all of its leftovers has been set up at the WantedDesign Manhattan fair. Addressing leftovers in the hospitality industry, Zero Waste Bistro sources and serves sustainability. Durat, a polyester composite with a granular texture, used for table and serving items. Walls crafted from Tetra Pak packaging and a communal dining table and table set made with recycled and fully recyclable plastic. All food scraps the bistro produced is composted and turned into organic mulch for local farmers.

By Kristina de Verdier on 10 October, 2018

Known Supply – Know your T-shirt maker

“We believe our world would look much different if shoppers could know the people who made their garments.”

Knowssupply design transparency 2

Apparel company Known Supply celebrates the people who make clothing by putting a tag with the labourer’s signature. “We believe our world would look much different if shoppers could know the people who made their garments. Those items would be cherished, their value signifying so much more than ‘another t-shirt’”. Known Supply makes organic cotton T-shirts and other basics in ethically minded factories located in Peru, Uganda, and India.

Circular Economy Kitchen by Reform

Danish design brand Reform has created a new Everyday classic. This kitchen consists of cuts that are left when Dinesen has supplied floors to places like galleries, restaurants & mansions.

Danish design brand Reform’s projects start with a basic ingredient – elements from the IKEA kitchen. Add architect-designed fronts and countertops to create an aesthetic and a personal style that combines quality construction, function and timeless design. Together with designers they want to challenge the traditional kitchen industry by bringing timeless appeal of furniture to the cooking areas of our homes – creating new ‘Everyday Classics’. 

Through the years, it’s been a big wish of Reform’s founders to offer a sustainable kitchen design. In this new design Reform has collaborated with one of the top architecture companies when it comes to circular economics in sustainable buildings around the world, Lendager Group. Lendager Group has exclusive rights to use the surplus wood from floor-company Dinesen, which was the last little part that made this collaboration a perfect fit. In an exclusive company like Dinesen, customer-specific solutions are produced, which generates large amounts of residual wood. Therefore, the kitchen consists of cuts that are left when Dinesen has supplied floors to galleries, restaurants and mansions.
 

Cocot plant-based foods

A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains and legumes and it excludes or minimises meat. Have a look at these beautifully designed plants-based products.

    Inspired by cow blotches and colors of the earth and nature. These products are aimed at a selected audience of vegans who take care of the environment and their health. For the logo, a simple and geometric typeface was selected that made a contrast with the rusticity of the spots. A series of iconographies were designed that refer to times when man was fed only with natural products. Their approach with clean, sans-serif typography gives Cocot a luxurious feel mostly associated with high-end fashion brands. Designed by Mamba Studio.

By Kristina de Verdier on 29 May, 2018 In ,

Bio Design by Puma & MIT

A breathing sports shoe, that grows its own air passageways to enable personalized ventilation? A learning insole that prevents fatigue and improves athletes’ performance? A t-shirt that responds to environmental factors by changing its appearance to inform the wearer about the air quality? What sounds like future visions are actually research results by Sports company PUMA and the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Design Lab

PUMA and MIT Design Lab have been conducting research in the field of biodesign since June 2017. Biodesign is the practice of using living materials such as algae or bacteria to create products. It makes possible a football jersey made from the silk of a spider or a shoe box grown from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. PUMA Biodesign explores the new frontiers of biological design and fabrication to bring advances in science and biotechnologies closer to our daily lives through sport products.

Four initial experiments that derived from that study were exhibited at this year’s Milan Design Week. The four initial projects include a Breathing Shoe, which is a biologically active shoe that enables personalised ventilation by growing its own air passageways to keep the foot cool; Deep Learning Insoles, which collate realtime biofeedback by using organisms to measure chemical phenomena that indicates things like fatigue; Carbon Eaters, which is a microbially-active t-shirt that responds to its environment to change its appearance and inform the wearer about air quality; and Adaptive Packaging, a biologically programmable material that can change its shape and structure to become a new type of alive, biodegradable and adaptive packaging. See the videos here.

Dear Tea Society

Tea packaging designed by Open Studio Stockholm. The inspiration comes from classical tea salons and British member clubs. They created a fictional members club, where all teas have their own personality. And the result is something we haven’t seen in the food shelves before!

 
Designed by Open Studio Stockholm. The mission was to develop a whole new Nordic tea concept that could stand for quality, sustainability, innovation, and traceability – in a playful way. “Our idea was to create a fictional members club, where all teas have their own personality. Every blend/infution is personalized with a portrait and a charming personal description. We wanted the tea to feel as an interesting (and often eccentric!) characters that you’d like to meet over a cup.”

“The inspiration comes from classical tea salons and British member clubs, but at the same time we wanted to create something contemporary that makes tea drinking as urban and modern as the barista culture. The member clubs brought our thoughts to libraries that led us to the book-like design. The tea packages are placed on the shelf with the back outwards for easy reading of the title, sort and flavour.”

In addition to visual identity, naming and packaging design, they have also developed a physical meeting place for tea lovers in the form of a showroom/office/tea shop. On the walls are the actual paintings from the packages hanging.
By Kristina de Verdier on 12 April, 2018 In , ,

Cocofloss making flossing a fun experience

Cocofloss is a California based company making flossing a fun and rewarding experience. Mexico-based Anagrama has used vivid pastel based colors and metallic foil to give a holographic finish that enhances its lively and clean nature.

Cocofloss is a California based company making flossing a fun and rewarding experience. Mexico-based Anagrama has been designing awesome stuff again. This is how they explain their work for Cocofloss: “They offer a great variety of dental floss with a preoccupation for design. The graphic syntax developed for this project displays Cocofloss amusing essence within the interplay created by the various present elements. The pastel based colors alludes to the brand’s main values, diverting from the already age-worn clinical white more common for all things oral care. This was then matched with an elegant logo composition creating a more refined character. The metallic foil gives the whole aesthetic a holographic finish that enhances its lively and clean nature.” Via The Dieline.

By Kristina de Verdier on 3 April, 2018 In , , ,

4 Sustainable Design Principles

Nowadays sustainability is an integral part of most development projects, a filter all new designs should go through. Sustainability is part of what we call “good design” and everyone is responsible – it’s a cross-functional mission. Here are 4 design principles that can help us in these efforts.

Several aspects influence the sustainability of a product or service and it’s not easy to define which development activities to focus on, to create the best possible impact on our planet. What is clear though, is that design based on human needs, is the best starting point for sustainable design. John Thackara, author and one of the most influential voices within sustainability, states that we are filling our world with stuff, but we forget to ask ourselves “What are these things for” “What value do they add to our lives” Sometimes we focus blindly on new technology, while we probably should look into which problems to solve first. A designer’s most important role is to define these needs and make the new offering relevant and intuitive to the user.

#1 LESS IS FUTURE

We live in a world where we are constantly occupied; stores, web-sites, homes are filled with options – people are over-whelmed! A crucial task is therefore to simplify. Simplifying a product or service may sound easy, but achieving it in a meaningful way, is complex. “Less-ness” can as well be to create products with better quality, which creates less hustle for consumers as well as for the environment! Let’s ask ourselves how we can simplify the right way through the entire value chain. How can we use less material, or rather how can we minimise the amount of material that needs to be wasted?

Example: A team of MIT Media Lab researchers has developed inflated origami. A network of air channels in geometric patterns on sheets of paper, plastic, or textile.

#2 FOCUS ON THE EXPERIENCE

People do not think of a product, brand or communication separately – People buy an experience. Which means we must design for the holistic experiences. If we focus on the needs that should be solved, instead of how products look today, it results in a better user experience and increases the potential of more sustainable products. Perhaps parts of the need can be solved digitally with less footprint? When we focus on the holistic experience we have the opportunity to integrate more and eliminate useless fuzz that might just be there as a heritage from the past.

Example: IKEA’s iconic bags are famous for being reused for the most fantastic purposes, in people’s everyday lives. Now re-designed by Hay and even more desired.

#3 CIRCULAR CHOICES

Material choice is often a big question in development activities. Again, there are no simple answers regarding sustainability and material choice. But there are some basic guidelines to follow. How can we minimize the amount of different materials? How can we increase the proportion of materials made from renewable sources? How can we think circularly, think along the whole value chain, consider recycling, change the view of waste? A circular economy aims to maintain products, components and materials to its highest benefit and value all the time. Last but not least, how can we help consumers to understand what material it is, which increases the chances that it’s handled and recycled correctly.

Example: Lego’s botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees will be made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane in the future and will appear in LEGO boxes already in 2018

#4 SHARING & CARING

It’s getting more and more accepted for consumers to have access to things instead of owning them, especially for the younger generation. The big difference companies make when creating a product as part of the sharing economy, is that instead of asking “what should we create” the question is “how can we deliver on this need”. The sharing economy is about being in a broader context than just “my company”. My products should not only cater to my own needs, but they will contribute / be part of a much larger system.

Example: Care by Volvo is a new alternative to owning or leasing a Volvo car. Volvo calls it the future of the car experience, where a simple monthly subscription is all you need and you can easily share the car through a digital key.

Inné – A Tactile Fragrance Concept

“As you awaken to your divine nature, you’ll begin to appreciate beauty in everything you see, touch and experience.” Wayne Dyer. 

The INNÉ’s fragrance concept, designed by Thitipol Chaimattayompol. A concept which ties nicely to our earlier post about Touching Realities. Touch is one of the most important sensory modality in driving consumer behavior. The increasing lack of texture in people’s lives makes experiences become one-dimensional. So now, smart brands have be focusing more on how their products feel! By elevating the details and integrating elements of tactility, companies will consequently need to have a clear strategy on the tactile components of their brand.

“The INNÉ brand conveys a simple daylight lifestyle, while the bottle has the more complex design that links to sophisticated personality. The outer character looks simple as an ordinary individual, after touching and experiencing with the fragrance scent will evoke the inner personality to become more sensitive. The beauty is in detail of senses. The intricate texture on the bottle evokes the new personality which more complicated. The design has incorporated the touch sensation on the bottle’s surface.”

By Kristina de Verdier on 21 March, 2018 In , ,

LEGO BRICKS WITH PLANT-BASED PLASTICS

LEGO botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees will be made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane in the future and will appear in LEGO boxes already in 2018.

Lego green plastics sustainable design 1

The new LEGO elements are made from polyethylene, produced from sugar-cane instead of oil. Just to clarify, the end-product is  still plastic – but the source is renewable. Polyethylene elements are 1-2% of the total amount of plastic elements produced by the LEGO Group; The sustainable product range covers LEGO botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees made entirely from plant-based plastic.

It’s not easy to get a clear answer which material choices are the ultimate ones for the planet. Several aspects influence the sustainability of a material. It is to a high degree determined by its source, chemical composition, its use (in a product) and management (at end-of-life), and the impact it can have in both environmental and social areas.

Though “sustainable material” can be a loose term, Lego notes that it believes the new material must “have an ever-lighter footprint than the material it replaces.” This is considered across impact areas like fossil fuel use, human rights, and climate change. Lego also has investments in wind power and has introduced paper pulp trays for its Lego advent calendars, which reduces plastic waste in landfills. These moves are part of the LEGO Group’s commitment to use sustainable materials in core products and packaging by 2030.

Milkadamia – plant-based future of food

The food industry is being re-shaped as we speak, driven by startups that are responding to consumer demand of healthy and responsible products. Australian Milkadamia makes plant-based milk pressed from raw macadamia nuts.

We welcome a new friend to the world of dairy alternatives! Milkadamia, a plant milk made from macadamia nuts. CEO of Milkdamia Jim Richards told Food Navigator that he thinks clever packaging and relatable branding will be their way to stand out from almond, soy, oat et al in the fridge. The milk is pressed from raw nuts grown on a family farm in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, the macadamia’s native habitat. The farm cultivates the trees in a manner said to promote healthy soil. Macadamias boast a variety of health benefits. The nuts are thought to promote brain health, bone health and heart health as well as being completely cholesterol-free and packed full of protein. Milkadamia offers four different products: Original, Unsweetened, Unsweetened Vanilla and Latte de Barista. In 2018 it will be available in the refrigerated section of Walmart as well.

Good reads: One Green Planet writes about the future of food and the new conscious food economy which is rising. Bon Appetite rates The 4 Best Non-Dairy Milks Besides Almond.

By Kristina de Verdier on 20 February, 2018

Health Wearables by L’Oreal & Fuseproject

Beauty Tech is a huge space that hasn’t been explored much. L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator has teamed up with Fuseproject to develop two UV wearable sensors, aiming to make sunbathing healthier for people.

A ‘UV wearable’ is a stick-on sensor that tracks sun exposure, lowering the risk of skin cancer by raising personal awareness around how much sun is too much. L’Oreal’s technology incubator teamed up with Fuseproject to create the first product, My UV Patch launched in 2016. Now the next product is being launched, called UV Sense. UV Sense is the world’s first battery-free UV wearable, connecting to an app where personalised information and advice on sun exposure can be easily accessed.

My UV Patch is comprised of a series of tiles with photoreactive dyes that respond to UV rays, set against neutral reference points. Fuseproject was challenged to design a patch that followed these technical constrains, while designing new styles as body ornaments. By challenging the technical elements and shrinking them, we developed an aesthetic that could be directed into any number of stylistic collections. Working around the hand, arm, and wrist, we established a core collection that truly marries fashion with function; the My UV Patch redesign is sophisticated and discreet, a take on modern jewelry, with bold architecture and tonality.

UV Sense is an even smaller, dome-based sensor, that fits directly on a thumbnail, or an accessory like sunglasses. Subtle patterns laid directly over the outer shell create playful and iconic expressions similar to nail-art, with clear versions for those who prefer simplicity. A miniscule window in the shell allows for light to enter; data collected and stored is then transferred directly to the mobile app through an NFC chip