Need to Know
16 : 10 : 18

This Is Spoke taps into youth activism, Burberry becomes an educator and WeChat surpasses China’s internet users.

Foam Studio conceptualises future car colours

Keep it Real by Foam Studio for BASF

Berlin – The design studio has worked with chemical company BASF’s Coating Division on its influential trends book for automotive paints.

The Global Design Tool Kit is an authoritative publication that forecasts the trends in automotive paints in the years ahead. Its creator BASF enlisted Foam Studio to conceptualise these trends. The result was BASF: Keep It Real, a series of images and videos.

The collaboration began with a workshop organised by BASF to discuss automotive trends. Foam then interpreted the findings, translating complex technological ideas into visual narratives. The resulting series aims to visualise what the paint would look like when applied at scale, using abstract shapes and hyper-realism that can be likened to visual ASMR.

Studios are creating new visual narratives around scientific developments that interpret complex ideas in bold, aesthetic ways. For The Future Laboratory’s recent Material Far Futures report, we collaborated with Studio Brasch to visualise what’s next for material innovation.

Penguin Random House launches literary podcasts for Gen Z

This is Spoke by Penguin Random House This is Spoke by Penguin Random House
This is Spoke by Penguin Random House This is Spoke by Penguin Random House

UK – This Is Spoke is a podcast series that addresses the issues facing today's youth through a literary lens.

To create the 12-part series, Penguin Random House teamed up with young cultural influencers including author Chidera Eggerue, also known as The Slumflower, and YouTuber and poet Suli Breaks. The episodes aim to build a relationship between Penguin and younger, multicultural consumers, with topics that tap into Generation Z’s activist mindset.

The podcasts' themes include micro-aggression, being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and problematic faves – the book characters that people still like, despite their prejudiced or bigoted stances. ‘The aim is to provoke and encourage debate among Generation Z listeners – aged 17–24 – on some of the most important and contemporary issues influencing their lives, empowering them to join in and speak out,’ reads the This Is Spoke press release.

Traditional publishing houses are altering their strategies to reach young readers. As explored in our microtrend Young Biblophiles, brands are tapping into digital channels to inspire new offline reading habits among Generation Z.

Fighting counterfeits with digital fingerprints

New York – Entrupy, a company that offers authentication solutions for luxury items, has launched a new technology called Fingerprinting.

The technology has been created to give manufacturers and retailers the ability to verify an item’s authenticity at any point during its lifecycle. Using advanced computer vision techniques and microscopy, Entrupy records the variations of each object, such as its material, colour and design details. Even if the item is mass-produced, it can be recognised at any time by its ‘fingerprint’, which is stored on the Entrupy Cloud platform.

The solution hopes to prevent luxury returns fraud while reducing disruption in the customer experience. If an item is returned to the store, it can be instantly verified, ensuring the real product cannot be replaced with a counterfeit replica.

We first featured Entrupy in our Countering Counterfeits microtrend, which explored the tools that brands are using to thwart the impact of fake goods on the luxury and fashion industries.

Craft and Bling Bling FAKE, by Depot Basel, Design Miami/ Basel

Burberry’s next frontier is education

Burberry Inspire, London Burberry Inspire, London
Burberry Inspire, London Burberry Inspire, London

Yorkshire – The luxury fashion house is rolling out its first arts and culture programme for British schoolchildren.

The four-year initiative, Burberry Inspire, aims to understand how deep experience of the arts from a young age can have a positive effect on children’s education. Researchers from King’s College London will study the children’s reaction to the programme, in particular how cultural creative education can help them realise their aspirations.

Burberry Inspire will be implemented into the Key Stage 3 curriculums of eight schools in the British county of Yorkshire, catering for 11–14-year-old pupils. It will be run by local arts organisations such as Leeds Playhouse, Northern Ballet and The Hepworth Wakefield. Through these partnerships, the young students will gain experience in film-making, abstract dance and sculpture.

At a time when governments are failing to provide arts and cultural education or are otherwise drastically reducing funding, Burberry has stepped in to demonstrate its potential as a Civic Brand. For more on how education must diversify in order to offer holistic learning, read our Alternative Education Market.

Stat: WeChat has more users than China’s entire internet

The WeChat Social Commerce Report 2018 includes some surprising insights about how consumers are using the Chinese social network. Average time spent on WeChat, for example, has fallen by 24%, which can be credited to the rise in rival video apps grabbing attention elsewhere.

Although the number of WeChat users (980m) surpasses China’s total internet users (751m), the app is no longer growing at a local level as it has saturated the market. According to the report, the app is outnumbering the country’s internet users because of its growing amount of users outside China, as well as users who are registering for multiple accounts to separate their work and personal profiles.

Last month, the Chinese government released a report that found that more than 98% of China’s youth have used the internet. For more on the digital behaviour of these consumers, read our interview with Arnold Ma, CEO of creative digital agency Qumin.

Thought-starter: Are Generation X finance’s forgotten generation?

With the prospect of retiring later, this family-orientated generation of spenders are in need of dedicated financial support to help alleviate their money woes, says foresight writer Rhiannon McGregor.

Born between 1965 and 1980, Generation X has become finance’s forgotten generation, caught between the desire to spend money on family and personal treats, and the need to prepare for delayed retirement.

Having experienced the full blow of the last recession, Generation X consumers also have higher levels of credit card debt than other generations, yet they want to be educated about their finances to ensure a secure future.

‘The Gen X years are [those] where you’ve been in the workforce for a couple of decades and so your earnings have gone up, but you’re at that stage of family, mortgage payments, kids and soccer tournaments, and so you’re busier than you’ve ever been,’ Sarah Gmyr, 40, a consultant in Washington DC, tells financial publisher and advice platform Bankrate.

They are also especially family-orientated, so achieving a healthy work-life balance is a priority for them. This can, however, come at a financial cost, as they postpone career goals in favour of ensuring more time is spent with their families.

Read the full Money Market here.

Scrip by New Deal Design is a conceptual device that enables consumers to see and feel their digital spending
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