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17 : 08 : 21

The Braille Institute increase Google's legibility, Surfers Against Sewage call out 12 global brand polluters and Eddie Bauer explores diverse identities.

Chengdu’s cross-cultural centre imbues Italian influence

Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange City Reception Center, Chengdu, China
Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange City Reception Center, Chengdu, China
Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange City Reception Center, Chengdu, China

China and Italy – In a bid to broaden the cultural reach of Italy within China, the Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange City Reception Center in Chengdu will serve as a local government base for hosting cross-cultural exhibitions and events.

Created by aoe architects, the space fuses both Chinese and Italian design influence, with elements such as open plazas, columns and domes sitting alongside a bamboo forest, courtyard and tea rooms.

The space, which is free to explore, provides Chinese residents with a taste of international culture at a time when travel remains restricted. ‘We hoped to find the intersection of cultural differences between East and West, to allow visitors to enjoy Italian and Chinese culture at the same time, and to experience the difference,’ says Larry Wen, founder of aoe architects.

While Chinese citizens are currently reliant on domestic trips in lieu of international travel, such projects allow people to experience different cultures while remaining on home turf. To discover similar innovations, explore the idea of near-far destinations within Neighbourhood Travel.

Strategic opportunity

Travel and hospitality brands can generate excitement around domestic travel by capturing global cultures through immersive destinations. From architecture to regional arts and music, work with international voices to create memorable experiences

A hyper-legible typeface brings inclusivity to Google

Atkinson Hyperlegible Font by Applied for the Braille Institute Atkinson Hyperlegible Font by Applied for the Braille Institute
Atkinson Hyperlegible Font by Applied for the Braille Institute Atkinson Hyperlegible Font by Applied for the Braille Institute

US – In response to the need to create more inclusive digital experiences, the Braille Institute has made its easy-to-read Atkinson Hyperlegible font available on Google Fonts.

The typeface, created by design studio Applied, avoids conventional design approaches around uniformity to instead focus on letterform distinction. In this way, the font enables people with low vision to access digital information and create content within Google programmes. ‘People may be surprised that the vast majority of the students who come to the Braille Institute have some degree of vision,’ says Sandy Shin, vice-president of marketing and communications at the Braille Institute. ‘They're not 100% blind.’ Such concepts therefore recognise the importance of using design cues to serve a wider range of audiences.

Elsewhere, we’ve explored the ways that companies are supporting diverse consumer groups through inclusive approaches to everyday technology. While these innovations primarily focus on hardware, Atkinson Hyperlegible sets an example of how inclusive software can be made available for the masses.

Strategic opportunity

When designing with diverse needs in mind, ensure you carry out extensive user testing to effectively respond to consumer challenges. Consider making your inclusive design approaches open-access, allowing other brands to take note

Eddie Bauer’s video series celebrates outdoor identities

US – Eddie Bauer, the outdoor clothing company, is expanding its reach through a series of films that explore diverse identities and outdoor exploration.

Launching as a result of the fashion brand’s in-house content studio, the first series of films – Find Yourself Outside – spotlight professional mountaineering guide Angela Hawse exploring Indigenous land in Southeast Utah. Throughout her exploration, she shares personal stories relating to being an LGBTQ+ person, and the recognition that not everyone feels safe outdoors.

By doing this, the brand communicates the need to acknowledge people’s diverse experiences and associations with outdoor pursuits. ‘We’ve had so many experiences that have shaped our beliefs and our patterns that have influenced who we are and what we believe in,’ explains Hawse in one of the films. ‘And I’m trying to break that down and get back to that little girl, who was just like… the world was full of wonder.’

As the leisure and hospitality sector wakes up to the need to take more inclusive approaches, brands such as ITA Leisure are elevating the market by creating products for people of colour.

Honoring Who We Are by Eddie Bauer Productions

Strategic opportunity

Leisure and hospitality brands should embed inclusivity into their strategies at every level. At R&D phases, diverse talent can offer guidance around granular product elements like fabric and pattern choices

Stat: Branded packaging is polluting UK coastlines

Plastic, neutral by Humankind Plastic, neutral by Humankind

With the UK’s packaging pollution growing at an alarming rate, a study by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) finds that branded items are largely to blame for clogging up Britain’s coastlines.

Its annual brand audit report finds that almost two-thirds (65%) of all branded packaging pollution along the UK coastline can be traced back to just 12 companies. These include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev and McDonald’s.

Hugo Tagholm, CEO of SAS, offers a solution, commenting: ‘Legislation such as an ‘all-in’ deposit scheme needs to be introduced urgently, and governments need to hold these companies to account and turn off the tap of plastic and packaging pollution flooding the ocean.’ The report also suggests that more than half (52%) of the pollution from these 12 companies would be captured through such a scheme, including 80% of Coca-Cola’s products.

While brands and governments are failing to act, an emerging community of Regenizens are taking matters into their own hands and ensuring they’re making sustainable, regenerative and ethical product choices.

Strategic opportunity

To support consumers in making more sustainable decisions, brands must implement systems that enable circularity. Set an example to your competitors and don’t wait for government legislation to be mandated

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