Global – The streaming service is inviting fans and artists to connect with each other in gaming platform Roblox. Its digital destination, Spotify Island, will engage users through interactive quests, exclusive content and the option to buy artist merchandise. It also encourages music fans to create their own music, using stations by virtual beat-maker platform Soundtrap.
To further entice users, Spotify enables creators to perform their music on a virtual stage, and work to become top of the charts within Roblox. Through this initiative, Spotify draws on the popularity of gaming to elevate its services and bolster interactivity. ‘We’re flipping the script and empowering players to be the creators and truly feel like they’re the artist performing,’ comments Abby Stewart, director of business development at Spotify.
With young audiences driving a shift towards democratised music communities, such projects enable amateur creators to more easily express their musical talents.
Georgia – Design studio Bedow is breathing new life into Georgian drinks company Swee, taking an unconventional approach by designing its ingredient list into its packaging. As a producer of naturally-made kombucha, the visual refresh allows Swee’s ingredients to be placed at the fore.
In the new design, each ingredient is represented by a specific colour and pattern, appearing all together as a form of design-led bar graph, with each shown in a different size to represent its percentage in the drink. While drinks ingredients are typically displayed in discreet, functional blocks of text, allowing brand names to take the lead, Swee is flipping the script. ‘We saw the possibility to turn what is typically functional information into a visually playful infographic system,’ says Perniclas Bedow, creative director at Bedow.
As we explore in Frivolous Foods, there has been an ongoing move towards less sterile approaches to nutritional food and drinks – with identities that instead combine nostalgia, escapism and pleasure.
India – Technology company Dell is empowering Indian youth to think boldly about sustainable innovation, through its Dell Futurist programme. Running in partnership with creative agency The Glitch and colleges and universities across India, the programme’s latest challenge prompted students to think about the ecological future of their nation. The resulting project saw five winners co-create a 35-foot installation in Delhi, considered as the ‘most sustainable mural’ due to its use of carbon and pollutant filtering ink.
Arriving in a city with one of the worst air quality indexes in the world, the aim of the project is to draw attention to severity of pollution, as well as inspire young people to take action in creating a more eco-conscious environment. ‘We didn’t want to create a token campaign that hypes the problem of pollution,’ says Varun Anchan, associate vice president at The Glitch. ‘For us, it was important to build sustainability into the mindsets of students and show them that they can make an impact on the world.’
As people become more aware of the environmental damage caused by advertising, brands and agencies are challenging the sector by launching more sustainable alternatives.
London – Design studio NewTerritory is unveiling a microdosing concept brand, which aims to shift perceptions around the use of psychedelic drugs. Called Human Nature, the speculative project invites users to take part in a digital diagnostic phase, before being prescribed with a psychedelic that would best support them. A Space Set pack is then sent to users, with supporting mouthpiece capsules designed for easy inhalation.
Each of the four psychedelics available for microdosing target a different area of wellbeing – from focus to relaxation. By positioning microdosing in an accessible and user-friendly way, Human Nature points to a future where psychedelics are a common part of everyday wellbeing practices.
James Ravenhall, creative director for NewTerritory comments: ‘We want to imagine a world where a tailored microdosing platform can support cognitive brain functions – in fighting depression and sleep deprivation, for instance – and to ask what this might look and feel like.’ Elsewhere, innovators such as Trip are exploring how digital platforms can similarly democratise psychedelic therapy.
US – Brand building house Practice is unveiling an editorial project exploring social justice, in collaboration with online anti-racism community Outer Work. The Outer Work Newspaper features articles, worksheets and a poster – all offering tangible ways of engaging with anti-racist work in a format that Michelle Mattar, founder of Practice says is ‘rooted in joy’.
Its visual style, featuring graphics of seedlings, soil and droplets, also plays reference to community gardens. Mattar says the publication uses, ‘a joyful palette featuring a rich brown (soil) as opposed to an inky black typically used in offset print pieces.’
While online spaces are oversatured with such content, the Outer Work Newspaper promotes the importance of physical materials when learning about such topics. It will be distributed across public spaces such as libraries, schools, cafes and bookstores.
As more people seek to educate themselves on social issues, such projects align with the growth of Care-mmunities – a shift towards new structures of kinship that we explore in Neo-collectivism.
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