Designing for Representation: 3 New Innovations
Following on from our Access for All report, we spotlight three recent innovations that support and celebrate consumers of all abilities.
- Emoji Like Me: The Unicode Consortium, a global non-profit organisation that ensures emojis and digital characters can be used across different devices, has released its new Emojis for 2019. The 230 new emojis feature icons which represent the experience of people with different abilities. These include figures walking with canes and in wheelchairs (both manual and motorised), guide dogs, mechanical limbs, hearing aids and people speaking sign language. With 61 million adults in the US living with a disability, it is important for brands to provide products that ensure consumers of different abilities feel visible and equally represented (CDC, 2018). For more on how to maintain consumer approval through brand communications, see our report No Offence: Speak the Language of Now.
- Inclusive Cooking: New US-based lifestyle brand Q.D. Foodie makes fun cooking utensils designed with inclusion in mind. The smiling vegetable-shaped utensils incorporate braille, allowing visually impaired children to confidently identify their tools and join in mealtime preparations. Easy-grip handles and characterful design ensure that the cookware appeals to a range of young chefs, not just those who benefit from the braille unit notations. Brands should follow Q.D. Foodie’s lead in creating fun, covetable products that seamlessly include accessible design touches. Read Design for Disability for more on inclusive product design.
- Barbie Breaking Boundaries: Adding to its inclusivity-led design in Barbie products, Mattel is launching two dolls that celebrate people with disabilities. Later this year, a doll in a wheelchair and a doll with a removable prosthetic leg will join a Barbie range that has been expanded to represent a wider range of body types and ethnicities. For more on Mattel’s girl empowerment ethos see our recent post on The Brief. As discussed in The Gen Alpha Moment and our 2019 Consumer Zodiac, the parents of the youngest consumer demographic are demanding kids’ products that celebrate empowering narratives, products and experiences.