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Creating Tomorrow: creativity vs crisis

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Brilliant examples of creativity in the midst of this crisis – thanks to all of you

If there was any doubt that creativity would triumph during this crisis, you – the readers of this column – have obliterated it… and stamped on it for good measure.

My DMs, inbox and social feeds have been inundated in the past week with phenomenal examples of brands and individuals coming out fighting during the coronavirus pandemic, turning adversity into impetus to reimagine what product design looks like today and tomorrow.

From small start-ups to big corporates, change through creativity is flourishing. Some of it pays back, some of it lightens the mood, some of it supports frontline staff, and some of it is just about designers making a living in a world that isn’t spending the way it used to.

There are many highlights, which I’ll be sharing over coming weeks.

But before I get to a few examples which made me smile, I wanted to write a few words about ‘consumerism’. As individuals across the world are put on furlough or even lose their jobs, and economies falter, we can fully expect a wave of anti-consumerism to follow, which is bad news on top of an already difficult world for product designers.

Or perhaps not.

I think there’s another way to look at this. Let’s not call them (or us) consumers for a moment. Let’s think about people and what they will need. Products with purpose will still resonate. And not ‘purpose’ in the marketing jargon sense of the word. Purpose to enable and to enhance lives.

It is in fact possible to embrace anti-consumerism and still design products that people will want. It’s just that those products will need to be better thought-through and better designed than ever before – which isn’t just good for consumers, it’s good for designers, it’s good for brands and it’s also good for the environment.

And so to #creativityVcrisis.

I adore hunting down new prints to adorn my walls, although I’m totally useless at hanging them, and therefore, despite my age, still wait for my dad to come to visit to have things put up. (Given it’ll be some time before he comes to stay again, I probably need to get over my fear of a drill and Rawlplugs.)

Despite this I hadn’t come across Amanti Art before, which specialises in custom-framing art and mirrors. The brand has switched to making framed sneeze guards for stores that are light and really easy to hang from the ceiling – brilliant for convenience stores still open and supplying essential goods for the rest of us.

I like wine as much as art, so loved the example of @CheersWith.Me, which is hosting virtual wine tasting sessions with sommeliers to help local wine producers stay afloat. You buy your wine ahead of time, have it shipped, and then settle down in front of your computer for a rather more sophisticated drinking session than the ones I’m currently enjoying in front of Tiger King on Netflix.

One thing my WGSN experts are convinced of is that the Covid-19 crisis will force the issue of sustainability in the fashion world even more strongly, so I was particularly taken with the way that @Nacha.Journal is changing its communication during this time. The small circular-economy unisex kidswear brand is posting a poem a day to its social feeds, designed to help children reconnect with nature. Having spent more than a small part of my weekend insisting that my stepchildren put down their devices and get out into the garden, “because you’re lucky enough to have a garden and millions of children don’t”, this definitely resonated.

Please keep your #creativityVcrisis examples coming – you can email me at carla@wgsn.com or find me online @CarlaBuzasi

You can follow Carla on InstagramTwitter and LinkedIn.

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