Need to Know
03 : 03 : 23

A new-era agency for coding and design, Fabletics introduces activewear-inspired scrubs, foresight editor Fiona Harkin’s weekly highlights, and the US advertising industry is losing female talent.

Introducing Cotton, an agency specialising in designing with code

Cotton, US

US – Acclaimed designer, coder and educator Talia Cotton recently launched her agency for graphic designers who love to get creative with code. Cotton believes there is a gap in the industry between the designers who understand coding and those who don’t. She quit her job at the global agency Pentagram to open her consultancy offering branding strategy, bespoke creation of digital experiences and training to any agency curious about code.

The company launched its website with a colourful campaign showing endless opportunities for visuals inspired and generated by code. It features interactive typographic treatments of Cotton, including a Tetris and balloon-based iteration.

In Digital Dialogues, we’ve highlighted how a new visual language is helping to demystify algorithms and AI-driven systems by communicating them as visible and tangible entities. Coding with design takes the process a step further. It’s no longer about tropes of pixels and monospaced typefaces; technology can now illustrate much more than itself.

Strategic opportunity

The designers of tomorrow must learn how to master new creative tools, such as AI visual generators and code, to reach and invent new design techniques

Fabletics unveils activewear-inspired scrubs

US – Activewear brand Fabletics is applying its expertise in performance wear in the medical apparel market.

With the launch of Fabletics Scrubs, the direct-to-consumer apparel company is creating a new hybrid category merging fashionable activewear and professional uniforms. The brand included the medical community in the design process to meet their needs. The Founders’ Circle, a community of scrubs-wearers from various medical professions, helped create the collection, tested prototypes and provided feedback.

The collection now includes 12 designs made with a breathable, lightweight and anti-microbial fabric available in eight colours, with sizes ranging from XXS to 4XL.

We previously analysed how relaxation workwear, day-to-night collections and now active workwear signal a wave of Elastic Brands are blurring the lines between fashion and workwear.

Fabletics, US

Strategic opportunity

Integrating end consumers’ feedback into the design process to ensure the highest level of performance and user satisfaction can happen without sacrificing style

Foresight Friday: Fiona Harkin, LS:N Global foresight editor

Strategy at The Future Laboratory by Labmeta, UK Strategy at The Future Laboratory by Labmeta, UK

This week, LS:N Global’s foresight editor Fiona Harkin details the talking points, buzzwords (and raps) on her radar.

: Some users of Replika, a mental wellness and companion app, are apparently heartbroken that the Romancing Edition has been turned off. Co-founder and owner Eugenia Kyuda tells the UK’s Sunday Times it was never intended as an adult toy. One user claims that the now confused Replika – based on ChatGPT tech – initiates romantic role play and then rejects them, ‘triggering past trauma’… We told you so

: There’s conspiracy-level outrage at the 15-minute city concept. Apparently, it’s a ‘climate lockdown’ in disguise. But as our upcoming macrotrend, Work States, reveals, our post-Covid work/life habits have changed for good, and new urban models are necessary

: Ahead of International Women’s Day (8 March), a word from former US president Jimmy Carter, founder of The Carter Center for promoting and protecting the human rights of women: ‘There’s one more basic cause that I need not mention, and that is that in general, men don’t give a damn. That’s true. The average man that might say: ‘I’m against the abuse of women and girls’ quietly accepts the privileged position that we occupy’

: Kalsarikännit – I think this is one Scandi it-word I can fully embrace, unlike hygge (too many candles) or friluftsliv (too cold). It’s Finnish for ‘pantsdrunk’, or drinking at home alone – in your underwear

Quote of the week

‘Breaker, breaker, Pete’s in the pub with a baked potato, Pint in his hand and a Sunday paper, Not today boys, I’ll see you later’

Rap lyrics of cult UK septuagenarian hiphop duo, Pete and Bas, proof that the flat age is truly upon us

Stat: US advertising industry is failing to retain female talent

Photography by Alexander Suhorucov, UAE
Photography by Alexander Suhorucov, UAE

US – A new survey from the industry group She Runs It has found that women are steadily exiting the US advertising industry. The group, which advocates for women in advertising, has released its fifth annual #Inclusive100 study that shows the industry has seen a sharp drop of almost 24% in female talent since 2021. Today, women account for just 35% of the marketing, media and ad tech sector, down from 46% in 2021.

Working in advertising is difficult for women at both entry and senior levels. The study found that fewer women than men are hired in entry-level roles, and executive positions have the lowest ratio of women, at just 30%, down from 33% in 2021. Among the industry's top 20% of earners, only 30% are women – a steep decline from 42% in 2021.

Work has changed rapidly over the past few years. The rise of flexible working and the pandemic have forced many workers to re-evaluate their priorities. Women have faced additional gender-based pressure to balance home life and employment. Our upcoming Work States Futures report will explore these emerging issues and attitudes to work.

Strategic opportunity

Losing diverse talent not only means saying goodbye to skilled staff and in-house expertise, it also means losing relevance. The advertising industry should consider setting ambitious diversity and inclusion strategies to remain pertinent in a saturated market

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