London – LS:N Global members gathered at The Future Laboratory HQ on 4 December to find out why age really is just a number.
The Flat Age Society Network Evening explored themes that LS:N Global covered in our spring/summer 2014 macrotrend, The Flat Age Society, and examined how product designers are changing their approach to products for the over-55 crowd, why members of this group are tired of anti-ageing language and why stock photography of Flat Agers is embracing a more authentic tone.
Simon Kinneir, research associate at The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, spoke about The Leaven Range, his series of everyday kitchen products that are tactile and provide extra-sensory feedback for those experiencing loss of sight. ‘Designers need to understand what it is like to have loss of hearing or be in a wheelchair,’ said Kinneir. ‘We need to bring that discussion away from disability. We all experience sight loss on a dark street or hearing loss near a construction site. We need to make it a more approachable topic.’
Guy Merrill, senior art director at Getty Images, spoke to the audience about the importance of creating an inclusive creative visual language. ‘People have this idea that stock photography is filled with clichés and stereotypes, and it is my job to challenge that,’ he said. Merrill spoke about the shift in portrayal of the over-50s in stock photography, from being seen in the past as frumpy grandparents to being shown in more authentic, realistic images. ‘Now it is about individuality,’ he said.
Anna James, founder and CEO of Spring Chicken, introduced the retail site that aims to ‘make life easier and brighter as you get older’. Spring Chicken is not only filled with functional products for Boomers, but also with lifestyle products curated with a careful eye for beautiful design. But James, who used to work for Mothercare, sees a lot of potential for growth. ‘Compared with the babycare industry, this end of the market is nowhere near that level of innovation yet,’ she said. ‘Technology leaps are going to be enormous, such as the Apple Watch for health management.’
Behind the Flat Age
Sonia van Gilder Cooke, senior journalist at LS:N Global, spoke to the audience about LS:N Global’s research behind the macrotrend and what Flat Age means. ‘It is meant to indicate that ageing doesn’t change people necessarily,’ she said. ‘The idea of flat means you aren’t on the trajectory of becoming older and older, and you don’t have to conform to the stereotypical behaviour patterns of a certain age group. We are embracing individuality rather than being part of a demographic.’
For more on The Flat Age Society, read the macrotrend report.
For more information on forthcoming LS:N Global events, contact Alena Joyette.