Need to Know
08 : 10 : 19

Health insurance gets a Soft Aid re-design, MarinaTex transforms fish scales into a plastic alternative, and Saudi Arabia prepares to welcome 100 million visitors.

A furry rebrand for more human healthcare

Alan, branding by Design Studio
Alan, branding by Design Studio
Alan, branding by Design Studio

Paris & London – Healthcare start-up Alan has debuted a refreshed brand identity that takes a softer approach to clinical care.

Led by London's DesignStudio, its bear-faced mascot – who’s also known as Alan – has been transformed into a fluffier digital entity that’s ‘warm, friendly and empathetic’ in order to resonate emotionally with new audiences, and to attract new talent to the business. ‘We helped position Alan in a new category, simplifying their brand narrative around a subscription to better living,’ explains Campbell Butler, creative director at DesignStudio.

A series of conversational digital assets will allow Alan to connect with people using emojis, digital stickers and playful animations. As a mascot, Alan waves, offers cuddles and welcomes people to its site, where they can explore its health insurance policies.

Beyond the use of sound branding to help medical companies connect with consumers, Alan’s rebrand demonstrates how health services are taking cues from the lifestyle industries to de-stigmatise medical products and position them as more human and emotional. For more, explore the Soft Aid design direction.

Linnaean offers bio-positive urban wellness

Linnaean, London, photography by James McDonald Linnaean, London, photography by James McDonald
Linnaean, London, photography by James McDonald Linnaean, London, photography by James McDonald

London – Linnaean is a café, retail store and wellness destination created for consumers looking to balance urban living with more natural approaches to health, wellness and self-care.

Inspired by Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus, the space in London’s recently-regenerated Nine Elms neighbourhood offers bio-science products, beauty tech and classic salon treatments under one roof. Giving visitors a taste of ‘living evolved’ its treatments and modern apothecary are bolstered by a café and restaurant dedicated to seasonal dining, with menus devised by nutritionally-trained, plant-based chefs.

‘As we become more conscious about the impact our choices have on the planet, the focus becomes less about natural versus scientific ingredients and more on bio-positivity,’ explains Elena Tayleur, its founder. ‘Linnaean aims to support and nurture the local community, and encourage a feeling of urban connectedness and sustainability.'

Created as a one-stop, holistic space, Linnaean responds to the rise in consumers wanting to balance sustainable, natural health and beauty products with efficacy and ease of access. For more, explore our latest macro trend Bio-Positive Beauty.

MarinaTex turns fish scales into bioplastic

UK – Created by UK graduate Lucy Hughes, MarinaTex is a compostable material that turns waste from the fishing industry into an alternative to single-use plastic.

With potential for use in sandwich packaging or bioplastic bags, MarinaTex feels a lot like plastic but is in fact stronger, safer and more sustainable, while requiring low-levels of energy to produce.

The material was developed in response to reports that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight, while 50 million tonnes of waste is created annually by the global fishing industry. ‘I believed that there is value in waste and resources can be renewable,’ Lucy Hughes explains. ‘As [MarinaTex] is biodegradable and translucent, the most impactful alternative applications are single-use plastics.’

MarinaTex recently won the UK national award at the James Dyson Award, a competition that celebrates and inspires the next generation of design engineers. Using material science to turn environmental excess into valuable new resources, MarinaTex is evidence of transformative materials in practice. For more, explore our Material Far Futures report.

MarinaTex by Lucy Hughes

Stat: Saudi Arabia opens its doors to global tourism

Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a new global luxury travel destination, as it opens up to international tourism for the first time.

According to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the Arabian country could welcome more than 100 million foreign and domestic visitors by 2030, with 1 million new jobs created in its tourism sector. To date, travel to country has been almost entirely restricted to expats, those with business visas, and religious pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

‘Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country,’ says Ahmad Al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. ‘To visitors we say: be among the first to discover and explore the treasures of Arabia. To investors we say: become part of the fastest-growing tourism sector on earth.’

For hospitality brands and curious travellers alike, Saudi Arabia represents new economic, cultural and experience-led opportunities. For more, subscribers can explore our Saudi Arabia Travel Market.

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