News 27.01.2021

Need to Know

Homely interiors for a mental wellbeing clinic, hearing aids get a design upgrade and job hunters view flexible working as a desirable benefit.

A joyful rebranding for a mortgage broker

Habito branding by Uncommon, UK

UK – Creative studio Uncommon has imbued mortgage company Habito with a dream-like identity designed to visualise the straightforward process the company offers.

The rebranding updates the broker’s logotype, adding wings to represent the heavenly appeal of the brand. Themes of euphoria and joy extend to a new pastel colour palette as well as a phantasmagorical visual style, illustrated by new campaign imagery such as a flying key representing a Habito client’s new home. Uncommon has also worked on merchandise to match this new euphoric style – an untypical direction for a financial services business.

The new look was launched as part of the brand’s existing ad campaign intended to increase brand awareness, aptly named Hell or Habito, ‘The founder Daniel Hegarty created Habito to save people from the hell of getting a mortgage, so when we were creating the Habito experience we wanted to create the badass version of heaven,’ explains Nils Leonard, co-founder of Uncommon Studio.

Discover more colourful branding identities for financial businesses like Habito in our Design Direction, Fluid Capital.

Boosting psychological wellbeing via interior design

The Soke interior by Covet & Noir, London. Photography by Taran Wilkhu
The Soke interior by Covet & Noir, London. Photography by Taran Wilkhu
The Soke interior by Covet & Noir, London. Photography by Taran Wilkhu

London – Design studio Covet & Noir has unveiled its latest project, designing comforting interiors for mental health clinic, The Soke.

The use of neutral colourways throughout the London-based facility aims to evoke feelings of tranquillity for visitors. Other design features in the 10-room, family-focused clinic include sound-proof walls to block out local traffic, linen curtains for privacy and a natural feel, and relaxation pods. The design studio purposefully selected furniture such as leather upholstered chairs and vintage sofas to make the space warm and inviting, similar to being at home.

‘The non-clinical character has been carefully curated to shift the image of prevalent everyday mental health issues and to encourage people to embrace regular engagement with their psychological wellbeing, as one other aspect of their positive lifestyle choices,’ says Maria Lindgren, co-founder of Covet & Noir.

In our macrotrend, Conscious Deceleration, we explore the calming impact interior design can have on people's subconscious and how this design can be replicated in healthcare environments.

Wireless headphones that function as hearing aids

Olive Pro earbuds by Olive Union, Japan Olive Pro earbuds by Olive Union, Japan

Japan – Tech start-up Olive Union has introduced the third iteration of its Olive Pro headphones, which play music as well as amplifying voices for D/deaf and hard of hearing (HoH) people.

By embedding artificial intelligence (AI) into the design, speakers within each earbud can cancel out background noise and improve the clarity of human voices for the wearer. Combining hearing aid technology with innovations typically found in premium Bluetooth devices, the buds have a dual purpose. When put into music mode, the AI integration transforms them from hearing aids into noise-cancelling headphones. Priced at £143 ($199, €161), the Olive Pros are comparable to the cost of other premium wireless earbuds, differentiating these aid-led devices from more expensive options in the assistive tech market.

‘When my uncle first needed hearing assistance, everything from design and pricing to technology and maintenance turned him away,’ says Owen Song, founder of Olive Union. He adds: ‘Our third-generation Olive Pro was built for him and the 466m people globally suffering from some level of hearing loss.’

Emerging assistive tech is enhancing everyday life for differently abled consumers. These solutions use thoughtful design cues as a way to ascertain Implicit Inclusivity.

Stat: Covid-19 bolsters approval of flexi-work models

Interiors of the office building for Medibank designed by Hassel, Melbourne Interiors of the office building for Medibank designed by Hassel, Melbourne

A recent survey of US workers and HR directors by software firm Citrix Systems has found that when employees are searching for a new role, 88% seek flexibility in their hours and location.

If they are able to work remotely for most of the time, 83% of those surveyed would be more likely to move out of cities and other urban locations. In addition, 78% of workers predict that the geographical decentralisation of organisations will result in remote working hubs in rural areas. Looking to the future, 83% of respondents believe that companies using flexi-work models will attract more future candidates globally.

‘The pandemic has forever changed the way employees view and approach work,’ explains Tim Minahan, executive vice-president of strategy at Citrix. ‘Companies will need to embrace more flexible models for work that allow them to meet employees where they are in order to position themselves to win.’

The fallout from Covid-19 is transforming attitudes to work, marking a major turning point for how organisations operate. Read more about the changing landscape of work in this opinion piece by our Applied Foresight editor Adam Steel.

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