With racial justice overtaking COVID-19 social conversation and diverse people showing up for BLM, we’re in the midst of a sea change.
2020 is now officially two years behind us, and the new year brings a sense of revived hope and inspiration to create something better for ourselves. We saw over the past two years how pandemic living has made self-care an essential component of life for everyone, and not just a nice-to-have: A growing trend we call Self-Care Revolution. In December, 83% of US adults told us that self-care has become a top priority of theirs; a 14% increase from a prior survey in November 2020.*
In our 2021 release of Betterment 2.0, a tentpole Horizon Media study on the evolution of wellness, we uncovered the cyclical nature of betterment and three phases of the journey: Restore, Practice, and Connect. But as we enter the new year, we’re seeing Betterment move into a fourth dimension: Mindful Spaces. As more people embrace betterment to improve themselves, their communities, and their environment, expect product experience, design, and architecture (physical and digital) to evolve to reflect these growing needs. We’re already seeing this manifest via therapeutic uses of color, mindful UX and design, and a focus on better breathing. Let’s explore.
COLOR PSYCHOLOGY INFORMS DESIGN
With more people spending exponentially more time at home, we’ve had to make do with our living spaces to work for all aspects of life: basic survival needs, work, school, parenting, and leisure. While research on the effects of color on mood and performance is surprisingly limited, more people are turning to color to enhance their spaces with a betterment intention. To ring in the New Year, Valspar partnered with the well-known astrologists and bloggers the AstroTwins to deliver their top twelve Colors of the Year with a zodiac twist. For example, Cancer’s “Delightful Moon” yellow hue is meant to call in a year of epic growth and adventure, encourage creativity, and uplift spirits indoors. Color can transform spaces into sanctuaries, too. One local Boston interior designer, Hello Pearl Interiors, embraces color as a means of transforming people’s homes into spaces that inspire them to live their best lives. Color is inspiring. That’s why Pantone created a brand-new hue, “Very Peri,” for the first time in the history of their “Color of the Year” program. According to Pantone, “Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expressions.”
Pro tip: Use color psychology to creatively inspire mood-based decisions via your brand’s UX. Ideate where to reflect the energies of calm, creativity, productivity, etc. by using various color palettes for your website, user interfaces, ad design, product, and retail space – moving people toward an emphatic sale.
KITCHENS OF BETTERMENT
Nearly two years of pandemic living has challenged us globally to find better solutions for the health and wellbeing of our bodies as well as the planet. Innovative ideas that combat over-consumption are pushing the bounds of what’s possible in the heart of the home: The kitchen. Given a move toward more conscious consumption and plant-based diets, The Click and Grow 25, available in May of 2022, is a smart urban indoor “farmer’s market” that allows people to harvest their own greens and herbs at home. Like a Nespresso machine, users buy pods of soil they can plug into the planted tray-based apparatus, creating the perfect conditions for weekly harvesting where most often it takes 28 days for growth. But when it comes to betterment in the kitchen, it takes a village and loads of knowledge sharing. On TikTok, #KitchenOrganization and #KitchenTips have a combined 1.1B views. Influencers like @skylar_toth help viewers organize their fridges and pantries to make their produce and stored items easy to find, long-lasting, and encourage healthy and mindful eating habits along the way.
Pro tip: Brands outside of home goods and CPG can bridge the betterment gap in the kitchen space. For example, a clothing brand can encourage betterment and eco-consciousness by creating a line of washable and reusable “paper” towels, napkins, or grocery bags. Bonus: Patent a water-free way to disinfect the fabrics in the name of resource consciousness.
FROM SELF-CARE TO AIR-CARE
A focus on the air we breathe stemming from indoor isolation and tragic wildfires across the globe is creating a surge in the market for air purification. In fact, according to Brandessence Market Research in November 2021, the global air purifier market size is projected to more than double from its 2020 value ($10.4B) by 2027 ($21.2B). And innovations in the air purification and monitoring space are ramping up fast. At CES earlier this month, LG debuted their LG PuriCare™ Aero Tower, a premium air purifying fan. Based on testing conducted in November 2021, the powerful filtration system captures 99.97% of fine dust and airborne allergens. In December 2021, Amazon introduced their own Smart Air Quality Monitor that syncs up with Alexa. Half the size of the latest Amazon Echo, the device can track the home’s temperature and humidity, as well as the presence of dust, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds in the air.
Pro tip: Expect air quality to top the list of app-happy tracking behaviors in 2022 and beyond. From healthcare centers, schools, retail spaces, and transportation, incorporate smart technology that prepares your customers for top-quality air expectations on-site, encouraging traffic.
Source: *Horizon Media, Finger on the Pulse. Survey fielded 11/29/21-12/9/21, n=1,140; Cover Image by Jesse Wyman Photos via Hello Pearl Interiors