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24 : 06 : 22

Oku draws on local African design to brand its tech service, a golf app gets a youthful makeover, and air pollution is reducing life expectancy in south Asia.

Start-up Oku’s visual identity captures its dual heritage

Oku. Identity by DutchScot, Rwanda and Switzerland
Oku. Identity by DutchScot, Rwanda and Switzerland
Oku. Identity by DutchScot, Rwanda and Switzerland

Rwanda and Zurich – The start-up, which pairs tech-savvy African entrepreneurs with Swiss expertise, is drawing on its dual heritage to communicate its cross-cultural partnership. With the ultimate aim of promoting innovation in Rwanda through mentorship, experience and networking, Oku’s branding features local references from the African nation, while avoiding design cliches.

To do this, the company worked with graphic design studio DutchScot, which took inspiration from the geometric shapes and earthy colours of the Rwandan art form imigongo. In this way, the branding strays from the generic visuals commonly used in technology brands. ‘We wanted to draw inspiration from Rwanda but in a contemporary way,’ explains Oku in conversation with LS:N Global. ‘We plumbed for a bold typography solution, creating a bridge in the logo and then a suite of patterns that spoke to the various facets of the business in a personable way, all this combined with an earthy palette.’

Elsewhere, we’ve explored the ways that African lifestyle platform Dola is similarly preserving the continent’s heritage through a contemporary, youthful lens.

Strategic opportunity

When entering cross-cultural partnerships, brands from the Global North must avoid tired narratives around elevating the Global South, and instead work towards more equal collaborations

A golf app taking a shot at younger players

Goolf. Identity by Wildish & Co, UK Goolf. Identity by Wildish & Co, UK
Goolf. Identity by Wildish & Co, UK Goolf. Identity by Wildish & Co, UK

US – Steering clear of the tropes that dominate the conventional golf sector, matchmaking service Goolf has refreshed its visual identity in step with the evolving demographic of the sport. The app connects players of all ages, allowing them to organise games or trips together.

Instead of Argyle knits and prim shirts, the rebranding, by design studio Wildish & Co, aims to position the sport as more inclusive and accessible. With a vibrant colour palette, flexible typeface and friendly animations, Goolf is trying to draw in a more diverse range of players.

To accomplish this, the design company focused on bright and gender-neutral imagery, offering an alternative to the stuffy visuals that typically represent the sport. ‘We found through research that often, golf brands fall into the trap of constructing a male-orientated brand, with heavy blacks and chunky typefaces,’ says Sam Fresco, managing director of Wildish & Co.

With an influx of new players who haven't previously been represented in the sport, such as women and girls, the game of golf is undergoing a sea change. No longer the domain of the affluent, there are numerous opportunities for companies to help bolster this burgeoning hobby.

Strategic opportunity

How can your company help dismantle the often-exclusive aesthetic of sports like golf? Consider launching a capsule collection that breaks new ground within the sport’s heritage

The avatars in Meta can wear luxury labels

US – Technology giant Meta is launching the Meta Avatars Store, a digital fashion marketplace where users can customise the appearance of their avatars. Among the first luxury labels available at the store are Prada, Balenciaga and Thom Browne.

The luxury garments on sale will be digital replicas of the labels physical items, such as Balenciaga's signature hoodie or motorcycle suit, allowing users to experience these popular products virtually. There will also be a variety of free products and wearables for users who might not want to spend money on virtual clothing. We also know that people often want to change their look, whether in the real world or in digital spaces, says Meta in a press release. One way we’ll make that evolution easier is by continually offering new options that reflect the latest sartorial trends...

In our Affirmative Avatars piece, we explored the growing demand for customisable digital assets in gaming environments. By integrating wearables into social media, the Meta Avatars Store is helping to bring digital clothing into a different context.

Meta Virtual Fashion Store, US

Strategic opportunity

How can companies introduce vintage fashion in the metaverse? Consider opening a virtual store where you can purchase clothing from past collections

Stat: Polluted air is shortening people’s lifespans

Grime Goes Green by Clean Air Now, London
Grime Goes Green by Clean Air Now, London

While environmental researchers have been aware of the risks of air pollution for many years, a new Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report captures the reality of how much it is affecting people’s lives. The report, by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute, reveals that dirty air could shave five years off people’s lives in south Asia.

Broken down further, the research also reveals that the most polluted country in the world is Bangladesh, where air pollution reduces average life expectancy by 6.7 years, with the most polluted districts showing lives shortened by 8.1 years. When compared to other health threats, the report finds that particulate air pollution takes 2.2 years off global average life expectancy, comparable to that of smoking, and far exceeding that of alcohol use, unsafe water, HIV/AIDS and terrorism.

With environmental issues posing major health threats, businesses have a responsibility to take action and create planet-first solutions for a safer world.

Strategic opportunity

Businesses must invest in material and infrastructural developments that actively work towards reducing air pollution to healthier levels

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