Single is a Terrible Thing to Waste by Wieden + Kennedy for Tinder. Photography by Ryan McGinley, New York
In March, The Future Laboratory launched three new macrotrends for 2019, with Uncoupled Living capturing the attention of our subscribers.
At a time when being in a couple is becoming a less prevalent way to structure society and more adults embrace the single life, it’s time for brands and consumer-facing businesses to consider how this uncoupling of society will affect consumption.
From downsizing packaging to removing the stigma of single parenthood, opportunities abound in categories like travel, housing and entertainment, with the chance to reframe products and services with single people in mind.
As Bella DePaulo, psychologist and author of The Badass Psychology of People Who Like Being Alone explains, ‘For unknown numbers of people, being alone is not just a preference – it is a craving, a need. Deprived of their time alone for too long, they begin to fantasise about it. Nothing feels quite right until their need for solitude is replenished.’
To understand and implement strategies to ensure your brand can provide for this pro-single future, book one of our dedicated presentations in London and Australia.
The Design Direction: Digital Dialogues
At the beginning of April we unveiled Digital Dialogues, our latest Design Direction that explores the new visual language helping to demystify algorithms and AI-driven systems.
By communicating them as visible and tangible entities, consumers are starting to gain a deeper understanding of complex data. ‘As ever more complex data systems drive our lives, our focus as designers and artists is to create new metaphors that help people, brands and institutions to talk about these abstract and intangible things,’ explains Marcus Wendt, creative director at digital studio Field.
Creative studios such as Field, Foam and Pentagram are creating these new Digital Dialogues, crafting animated identities for fintech brands such as Cytora, computing company IBM, and advertisers such as Clear Channel.
As first discussed in Programmable Realities, responsive typography, for example, challenges the static nature of traditional branding and enables brands to communicate with consumers much more organically through continually evolving messages.
Delve into Digital Dialogues to discover how visual metaphors representing complex data and technology will shape the future of branding.
The Microtrend: Refined Refillables
As our second most-read microtrend so far in 2019, Refined Refillables takes a closer look at the beauty and personal care brands upgrading the eco-friendly element of refillable packaging through luxurious design cues.
Right now, the beauty industry is being confronted with its environmental footprint, in the same way that the food and fashion sectors have been challenged in recent years. A report by Zero Waste Week found that the cosmetics industry creates 120bn units of packaging a year, and predicts that by 2050, the beauty industry will have contributed up to 12bn tonnes of plastic to landfill.
In response, brands including Method, Myro, Lush and Hourglass Cosmetics are elevating refillable packaging with more elegant, shelf-ready bottles and casing that encourages more conscious consumption. Method, for example, has created a limited-edition faceted, teardrop-shaped glass bottle for its handsoap, complete with a copper pump. ‘It’s a huge unlock around sustainability if you can get consumers to re-use the bottle that they’ve already purchased,’ says Saskia van Gendt, Method’s senior director of sustainability.
Read Refined Refillables to discover how beauty brands are looking to more sustainable packaging solutions beyond recycling.
By Humankind, US
The Market: Flat Age Women Market
Born between the mid-1940s and the mid-1950s, Flat Agers came of age in the 1970s. And today they continue to refuse to comply with the mainstream, albeit now with the stereotypes of old age.
In our 2019 Flat Age Women Market, we take a closer look at the women applying the activist mindset acquired during their youth – a time of sexual revolution and women’s liberation – to a mass media that has long ignored their 50-plus age group.
‘We’re living longer and healthier,’ says Lesley Jane Seymour, founder of the CoveyClub, an online and offline club that aims to help older women re-invent themselves. ‘Which means at some point we’re going to ask ourselves: ‘Now what?’’ In response, CoveyClub provides virtual salons, networking events and podcasts, covering subjects as varied as how to face your fears, actions to change the world and life after divorce.
For brands, media platforms and advertisers, it is essential to acknowledge Flat Age women’s complex yet empowered attitude to life. For more, read the Market in full here.
The Big Idea: Meet the Generation Z anti-tourists
In February, we spoke to Sam Blenkinsopp, co-founder of youth-driven travel collective Trippin, who says it’s time for brands to shape a new narrative around Generation Z tourism.
‘Most travel brands see travel as a singular vertical. They need to look at it horizontally and see it as a blend of categories,’ Blenkinsopp explains. ‘Travel is culture. It’s music, sport, art, food, fashion, people, and so many travel brands don’t cater for those different needs. This is what youth are looking for when they get to their destination.’
He highlights how Trippin, as a community focused on connecting culture worldwide, is encouraging people to dig beneath the surface of a destination to understand the pillars that make up the culture of the places they visit.
Blenkinsopp adds that tourism industry will need to start offering people experiences that are real – and more authentic to the culture – instead of Westernised, diluted versions of the real thing. Read the full interview here.
The Opinion: Is it time to embrace Generation Zen?
As we kicked off 2019, writer Carla Seipp questioned whether, as Generaton Z enter the era of cautious hedonism, the notion of 'live fast, die young' is being laid to rest.
‘Amid the increase in educational and performance pressures placed on young people, a collective shift towards health and wellness, and far greater online visibility of their generation, there’s little room left for adolescent debauchery,’ she writes. Signalling this, some 60% of 16-22 year olds feel the need to succeed and make money, according to Ipsos, while in the US illicit drug use by US high school students fell from 22.6% to 14% between 2007 and 2017.
In turn, Generation Z are driving a surge in spiritual practices, simultaneously becoming a generation consumed with the concept that health equals happiness. ‘But what about brands selling health-impacting products such as alcohol, tobacco or confectionary?,’ Carla asks. ‘They may have been able to coast through thanks to older generations’ tendency to give into temptation, but for Generation Zen, it means overhauling their offers and finding new product pathways to non-damaging decadence.'
To understand what’s motivating Generation Zen, read Carla’s full Opinion piece.
Doyenne Summer 2018 collection, photography by Serena Brown