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.

IMG_9376

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.

PowerBlack-01-2.png
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”

Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)

The All-New Kindle Paperwhite
The All-New Kindle Paperwhite

It reads just like a book and is lighter to carry than most books. Here’s why you might want to consider the latest Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

So I just got my hands on the updated Amazon Kindle Paperwhite that was launched in India earlier this year. Before I get to the review, I’d like to point out two things. Although I own a Kindle 4 and have read a few books on my friend’s Kindle Voyage, I’ve always preferred reading out of a real, solid book. The smell of ink on paper, the unintentionally dog-eared pages, the act of turning actual pages and the beauty of the book cover are just some of the tangible pleasures that I value. The second thing is that I have not read a single book in the last three months. A lot has been happening, and reading books has sadly not found a place in this unexpectedly busy period in my life. So, here I am devouring a book after a good while. I’ve chosen to re-read an old favourite and all-time classic, Pride and Prejudice. And, I’ve got to say that the reading experience was remarkably enjoyable and completely uninterrupted. The Amazon Kindle was designed for reading books, unlike tablets or smartphones, which can so easily distract you from the immersive world of the novel.

Kindle Paper getting started

Amazon’s Kindle has continually led the e-reader market, and this year the Kindle Voyage and the 3rd generation Paperwhite have inarguably stolen the show. Launched in 2014, the Kindle Voyage comes with a higher price tag that’s justified by additional features. The Kindle Paperwhite 2015, however, is affordably priced and provides good enough value for your money if you want a comfortable experience that’s closest to reading an actual book. That said, here’s all you need to know about the Kindle Paperwhite and what makes it one of the top e-book readers to own at the moment. You might also find this blog post helpful if you are confused about whether you should opt for the Voyage or the Paperwhite 2015. Continue reading “Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)”

A touch of luxury

01_Lifestyle_Design_Story_RGB_High ResWhat’s it like to use a phone that’s as expensive as an exceptionally good car? What good would such an exorbitant gadget do over a good enough smartphone? These are just some of the questions you might find yourself pondering over should you decide to buy, or more aptly, invest in, the Vertu Signature Touch. Here are some reasons to own this luxury handset.

Head over to The Label to read the full review.

Fresh from the world of sound

A high-end wireless speaker with a design that’s as clean as its sound

 

Image 1 AURA_Black_Heroshot

If you happen to see the Harman Kardon Aura at a friend’s home, try not to get fooled by its appearance. It might resemble a futuristic kitchen blender or even a crystal ball. Hit the Play button and you’ll realise that there aren’t too many wireless speakers that look as good as they sound. Read the full review of this speaker at The Label