News 17.12.2020

Need to Know

Gamifying environmental protection, Vodafone’s empowering smartwatch for kids, and children feel under-represented in the books they read.

Alba is an eco-activist game for kids

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure by UsTwo Games, London

London – UsTwo Games has launched Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, a video game that centres on a young environmental activist.

Targeting younger gamers, it follows protagonist Alba as she discovers wildlife and conservation while holidaying on a fictional island, Pinar de Mar, inspired by the Mediterranean. Players use Alba’s in-game smartphone to document animals as well as learn about 80 different species.

Through the game, Alba takes part in environmental activism, petitioning against a hotel that's set to be built on a fictional nature reserve. Players are also tasked with fixing broken walkways and freeing a bird trapped in plastic waste.

Inspired by the studio’s love of nature, the game teaches players to make tangible changes and encourages more eco-conscious behaviour among younger audiences, in particular in their offline lives. Blurring the lines between learning and play in this way allows Generation Alpha in particular to elevate their playtime and feel inspired to make larger social change. For more, explore Edu-play-tion.

Ribena’s rebranding ramps up its recycling efforts

Ribena rebranding by Seymourpowell, UK Ribena rebranding by Seymourpowell, UK
Ribena rebranding by Seymourpowell, UK Ribena rebranding by Seymourpowell, UK

UK – Design and innovation company Seymourpowell is behind Suntory-owned Ribena's new look, as the drinks brand seeks to better communicate its sustainability credentials.

The project marks a significant shift for Ribena, allowing it to differentiate itself as a drinks brand with an environmental focus. Building on the fact that its bottles have been made from recycled plastic for over 13 years, its ready-to-drink bottles have undergone both a graphic and a structural redesign to modernise the shape and give them a visual appearance similar to glass.

Meanwhile, a ‘recycle me’ message embossed on the neck of the bottle serves as a call to action for consumers as they take a sip. And, while Ribena’s bottles have always been recyclable, the size of its labels have also been reduced to ensure a more seamless recycling process.

As we explore in Bio-bottles, consumers are increasingly mindful of single-serve waste, ushering in a series of material innovations to reflect this demand.

The Neo smartwatch gives independence to Gen Alpha

UK – Telecoms company Vodafone is set to unveil Neo, a smartwatch designed to help children feel more independent.

Focusing on both safety and functionality, the watch can be regarded as a gateway device to smartphone ownership, offering call and chat functionality, an activity tracker that logs movement and can set personal goals, and a front-facing camera.

Providing a degree of control, however, it also incorporates parental protection, whereby parents can approve contacts added to the watch and can limit screen time via a ‘quiet mode’ feature.

‘Designing Neo is about balancing the needs of both kids and their parents for safety, ease of use and wearability,’ explains designer Yves Béhar, who collaborated with Vodafone on this Neo project. ‘We’ve created a product that is inclusive and accessible for both children and their parents, uncompromising on user experience and coupled with a signature industrial design ID that is inviting.’

With tech playing such a supporting role in our daily lives, our Neo-Kinship macrotrend examines the devices and systems seamlessly integrating into familial structures.

Neo by Vodafone, UK

Stat: Children's books are lacking diversity

Habbi Habbi Habbi Habbi

Many young people report feeling under-represented in books, stating they don’t see characters or people who look like them in the texts they’re reading.

Research by the National Literary Trust (NLT) shows that almost 33% of young people aged nine to 18 say they don’t see themselves in what they read, and 40% would like more books with characters who are similar to them. This lack of representation is particularly apparent among black children and young people who identify as gender non-conforming.

‘The struggle to find characters who look similar, or share similar characteristics or circumstances, can impact a child’s engagement with reading and its life-long benefits,’ says NLT. ‘Just one book a child really connects with can spark a love of reading which can change their life story and help them to succeed in school and in life.’

While many young people access books through their school curriculums, a lack of diversity in learning is being challenged, prompting Generation Z to decolonise their education.

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