The future of health
In the 2020 Value Index published by Trendbüro and Kantar in mid-February 2020, i. e. before the pandemic hit Germany, the value "health" ranked first. In times of Corona, we see a reinforcement of what we have already experienced before, and what the designer Otl Aicher once phrased so aptly: "There is not one single thing that stands for itself". Health can no longer be considered isolated from environmental aspects as well as from issues of urban planning or the work environment. In fact, studies have shown that hospitalized patients recover more swiftly from surgeries if they can look at the greenery from their bed and maintain social contacts. For designers in particular, the interaction between humankind and the environment creates new areas of work. How can the positive effects of nature and social participation be integrated more effectively into urban or spatial design? How must signage systems be designed so that the risk of infection can be reduced significantly? How can complex health topics be illustrated in a comprehensible way?
Long before the pandemic, the desire for self-optimization has been flourishing, yielding odd results at times. But as the pandemic experience progresses, the need to assume responsibility for our own health is growing – starting with nutrition. During the lockdown, the new joy of home-cooking is taking hold, with bread baking machines, cookbooks and cooking blogs booming. Fresh foods, preferably from regional farming, continue to gain importance. People who don't work from home bring their daily meals, and uncool lunch buckets turn into chic boxes. The lack of exercise that comes with staying at home along with eating well soon leaves its marks at hip level, reminding us of the three key elements of a healthy lifestyle: diet, exercise and relaxation. Fitness trackers help us achieve our individual goals and are constantly being launched on the market with new designs and features.
Especially in the health sector, designers are facing enormous challenges, which in turn will foster the interdisciplinary interaction of scientists and designers: How can digitization contribute to relieving the workload of medical and nursing professionals? How can digitization improve social participation in times of visitor bans, and how should it be designed?
How can design contribute to radically reducing the risk of infection at the workplace and in streetcars, buses, trains or airplanes? Regardless of the discipline designers are coming from, their special skills are vital to finding solutions for the challenges of today and tomorrow.