8 global design trends that will shape 2018

This article was first published on India Art n Design

Honest packaging, augmented reality and other trends that will disrupt the realm of design in 2018. Here’s what the world will look like this year…

Clean labels will tell us more about the product than ever

Products will be wrapped in honest packaging
Reflecting the demand for simple and recognizable ingredients is the clean labelling trend that enlightens consumers’ purchase decisions without confusing or tricking them. Mintel’s Global Packaging Trends 2018 report suggests that brands will use the “essentialist” design principle in the next generation of the clean label to provide calm and clarity to shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.
 
Voice assistants will be everywhere
Smart homes have become the norm as voice assistants now control everything from heating, lighting and music; they can even order your groceries or call you a taxi. Sleek devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s soon-to-be-released HomePod speaker will be found in many more homes this year. And, it won’t be long before you find a voice assistant in your bathroom, too, as these very companies are striking up partnerships with third-parties to make your life simpler!
 
Graphic design is getting bolder
Illustrations won’t be going out of fashion any time soon, but we will start to see hand-drawn illustrations blended with graphic effects like double exposures, negative space or glitches. Even digitally drawn illustrations paired with photographs will make it to the mainstream in 2018.
 
It’s becoming easier than ever to give kitchens and bathrooms a new look
While all-white kitchens are still in, we will see a lot more jewel tones used strategically, on cabinets, accent walls and even kitchen appliances. Concrete in accents and as a finish is making a grand appearance this year, too. Bathroom makeovers can be effected at the drop of a hat, thanks to the easy application of stylish tile skins.
 
Well-being will be at the heart of the workplace
Going beyond placing a few potted plants around the office, this trend will take shape as offices actively integrate biophilic design throughout the workplace. The use of live and artificial plants, green walls, natural lighting, nature-inspired textures and prints fortifies this well-rooted trend that is shown to improve employee health, productivity and wellbeing.
 
The boundaries between playtime and education will blur
STREAM thinking (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Art and Math) is a buzzword in the toy industry. But this movement that promotes the use of toys that help children of all ages to use their imagination, critical thinking and skills is gaining more traction this year, thanks to new innovations and research. From robotic kits and colourful toys that engage all senses, this trend will see an upsurge in toys that combine fun and learning.
 
Architectural facades get a multi-textured look
The classic brick façade will remain popular in 2018, but the focus will now be on mixing different textures for a more tactile experience. Whether it’s about creating contrasting textures by playing around with gloss and matte levels of the same material, using light and dark shades of similar colours, or even mixing and matching complementary materials on to a single surface, the exterior surfaces of homes will now be as important as the interiors.
 
Augmented reality is going mainstream
Going by reports of the recently concluded CES 2018, augmented reality and immersive technology will be a mainstay in 2018 and beyond, with gesture and emotions as the new interface in lieu of screens and hardware. Whether it’s experiences in the retail space that allow consumers to ‘try before they buy’, dissemination of knowledge at the workplace through virtual simulation training, or virtual museum visits and the ability to learn from more than just a one-dimensional view of an artefact or photo, augmented reality will change the way we look at things.

 

#BeTheForce: The GOQii Fitness Band reviewed

The GOQii activity and fitness band pushes you to take that extra step thanks to unique features like one-on-one coaching, the ability to contribute to social causes, on-ground fitness events, and web chats with nutrition and health experts.

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I hopped on to the fitness bandwagon (pun intended 😉 ) sometime in December 2015 when I was gifted a FitBit. Prior to that, I had been tracking using apps like Armour, MyFitnessPal and, of course, Apple Health. I have since become that much more obsessed about tracking my steps, heart rate, sleep and what not after I started wearing the band. But I recently put my FitBit away to check out another piece of wearable tech — the GOQii. I imagined that I would get back to the FitBit within a few weeks of testing the GOQii. But here I am, three months down the line, still wearing and enjoying the features of the GOQii. Read on to know more about this fitness band that offers a host of interesting and motivational features.

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GOQii in the Power Black variation

A fitness band like no other

I’m not going to get into a review that compares the GOQii to other fitness trackers. That’s because the GOQii is so much more than just a fitness-tracking device. If you browse through the 2016 list of best fitness trackers, you’ll notice that most of the new devices offer a heart rate monitor, while a select few come with GPS functionality. The GOQii offers neither of these features, and it’s safe to say that you won’t even miss them. After all, it’s easy to get caught up with all that data crunching when you start tracking. But the thing about the GOQii is that it lets you immerse yourself in the world of numbers while gently pushing you to change your lifestyle with exciting initiatives.

But first, a little background on the company and the passionate people behind the GOQii band.

GOQii is headquartered in California and has offices in Mumbai and Shenzhen. The company was formed as a collaboration between some of the world’s leading experts who believe that a healthy, sustainable lifestyle is not too difficult to attain. Indian entrepreneur Vishal Gondal (ex-founder of gaming company Indiagames) is the founder and CEO of GOQii. Vishal, who has for a very long time been obsessed about tracking his health and fitness data, says that he experienced the lack of a ‘human’ touch when it came to other wearable tech products. And, that’s how GOQii was born.

Even the company investors are incredibly passionate about fitness. Madhuri Dixit-Nene is one among the list of investors who remain passionate about utilising technology to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. The teams who run the company — from nutrition and fitness experts right up to the tech guys — are just as ardently passionate. But more on this later. Continue reading “#BeTheForce: The GOQii Fitness Band reviewed”

On a tea spree

April 2015 Edition
April 2015 Edition

Aiming high: Lessons in courage and belief from a young Indian man who overcame all odds

Ashok Munne atop Mera Peak in Nepal (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)
Ashok Munne atop Mera Peak in Nepal (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)

Most of us live by the old adage that nothing is impossible. But is it always possible to believe that the sky is the limit or is it somewhat of a motivational phrase that keeps us going? Do we actually push the boundaries of whatever it is that we might be pursuing? Of course, there have been times when each one of us has aimed for the moon and succeeded at it. Do we truly believe that nothing is impossible each time we set out to achieve something? What if we could make the best of each moment of our lives by believing in our self? What if we could look past our flaws and follies to achieve the impossible, for the better part of our lives? We could try only to fail. Or, we could try and we might succeed. Whatever be the result, it’s important to give it a go.

Every once in a while, there comes a reminder of the infinite power of believing in yourself and your strengths. I recently came across the story of a young Indian man who overcame all odds simply because he believed in himself. This is the story of the 28-year-old Nagpur resident Ashok Munne, who has literally been scaling heights after he lost a leg in a train accident in 2008. This is the story of that elusive go-getter attitude that often gets lost in the recesses of our jaded beings.

Ashok had been a regular practitioner of martial arts, gymnastics and yoga, besides being a good swimmer. You could have called him ambitious, persevering even. Even when he lost his right leg to a train accident in 2008, he continued to dream of scaling heights even though it might have seemed like the unthinkable at the time.

He was fitted with an artificial leg from the Pune-based Command Hospital’s Military Artificial Limb Centre. It was during his recovery period in 2009 that he got word of Krushnaa Patil, the youngest Indian woman to climb Mt Everest. This bit of news inspired him to want to climb Mt Everest. Ashok has since not looked back.

Ashok Munne during his Ladakh trip (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)
Ashok Munne during his Ladakh trip (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)

In 2012, Ashok became the first physically challenged person to climb the 21,247 ft Mera peak, Nepal’s highest permitted trekking point, which is a pre-requisite for anyone who desires to climb Mt Everest. More recently, he rode his bike to Khardung La pass, an extremely high motorable pass in Ladakh, at 18,380 ft.

Ashok during his Ladakh road trip (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)
Ashok during his Ladakh road trip (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)

Ashok’s journey is far from over. In fact, as you read this, he is readying himself for yet another challenging journey. Ashok is currently receiving training in paragliding at Nirvana Paragliding in Kamshet. He signed up for the Elementary Pilot + Club Pilot programme with Nirvana after he expressed his desire to first climb Mt Everest and then fly down by paragliding.

It will be a herculean task for Ashok, first to scale Mt Everest and then to paraglide off the world’s highest peak, all the while braving extreme low temperatures, lack of air and the weight of equipment. Don’t you wish you could make the very best of your life by aiming high? It is stories like these that remind me, every now and again, that courage, strength, hope and belief are prerequisites for taking on challenges that life throws at us. As this brave heart’s track record has proved, nothing is impossible. And, as he prepares to take on his heart’s desire, we wish him the very best for his next journey.

Visit Ashok’s blog to follow his inspiring journeys: http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in

Review: Garmin Vivofit

Garmin VivofitWe need wearable devices now more than ever. Our fast-paced lifestyles and disproportionate work-life balance has left us with little or no time to work on our wellbeing. We need a device to remind us that our fitness levels are far from fine, and our sleep just about enough. This is why you may have noticed some sort of wearable device strapped on the wrists of a growing number of people; men in well-cut suits included. As much as you might have a high level of disdain for such seemingly unnecessary gadgets, they are, in actual fact, just what the doctor ordered. And before you dismiss this as some sort of corny fitness discourse, one that will con you into wearing a bulky device on your wrist, you should know that there is a new breed of smart wearables hitting the market as you read this. The FitBit has been around for a while and, thankfully, bears no resemblance to some of the hideous smart devices available today. And now there’s the Garmin Vivofit, an equally effective option. Continue reading “Review: Garmin Vivofit”

Workouts for the workplace

Stairway to fitness heaven
Stairway to fitness heaven

Let your workout run into your office hours with this handy exercise guide

Desk jobs and the entire 9-to-5 routine can really take a toll on your body and mind. Add to this those daily fast-food lunches and late dinners and you’ve got all the ingredients for a burnout.

It is crucial to exercise in order to combat the adverse effects of sedentary jobs. But if you are unable to drag yourself out for a walk, jog or post-work gym session, you can incorporate these exercises and easy activities into your workday to remain on top on things. While this set of exercises might not exactly turn you into the epitome of fitness, we highly recommend them in addition to regular workouts, especially if you are a cubicle-bound employee.

Head over to Polka Cafe to read this story in its entirety.