Maynard 2021 Trends

Experiential travel outweighs necessity_Trend 1

Whilst the infrastructure still exists, global travel remains significantly unsettled. This is notably due to worldwide health concerns and risk surrounding the use of transit networks, transport restrictions and a remote working culture.

Restoring public confidence and providing the right incentives are a priority moving forward. Now that there are less commuters and more hesitant travellers, operators need to commit to innovative and aspirational design thinking in order to re-establish passenger engagement.

In the rail sector, people will require a more seamless journey experience, seeking comfort, space and hassle-free travel. Expect more flexible train interior environments; improved on-board facilities which lend themselves to work and leisure (such as pop-up desks, task lighting, charging points and wifi); and modular configurations that facilitate passenger privacy. Onboard digital and virtual experiences could also make an appearance, providing a superior dynamic accessory to journey-making.

Hygienic design for public safety and health is fundamental to combat infection concerns. Through data-driven insights and sanitised design implementations such as antimicrobial materials, dynamic screens and sterilisation lamps, passengers can feel assured that they are protected from infection risk.

Furthermore, a move toward seamless mobility could see transport providers embracing alternative, multi-modal methods of travel in their services. Promoting healthy transport and integrating active choices, makes travel more accessible and convenient.



Park de la Distance - Studio Precht

It is apparent that the public attitudes materializing from the pandemic have a greater appreciation for the outdoor environment. Yes, Coronavirus has forced us to re-embrace our natural surroundings, pulling us away from our indoor sanctuaries to honour an age-old activity. All over the world, the amount of time recorded that people take part in outdoor recreation has been steadily declining since the 1980s (where it reportedly hit its peak), however, with much of humanity forced to buckle down indoors, we are reverting back to the humble hobbies of our ancestors.

Urban wellness in a post-Covid society is a growing conversation among urban planners and design professionals. With social distancing in civic areas predicted to continue until 2022 (according to a Harvard study), we must consider how city environments and outdoor public spaces can thrive under these restrictions. Furthermore, as we face the likelihood of future global pandemics, new ideas for placemaking to suit both safety, wellness and economic concerns are crucial.

Considering the type of future restrictions, city layouts, roadscapes and parklets may adopt a new look to promote safer social distancing measures. Creative ideas for socially distanced play, walkways and outdoor exercise facilities; including the introduction of anti-microbial, natural materials to ensure sanitised recreation will be of the utmost importance. This featured urban design proposal for a park in Vienna is just an example of how we can creatively tackle the very immediate situation concerning our shared urban environment. Designed by Studio Precht, they conceptualized a maze-like space which will guide visitors on a 20 minute solitary walk.



Re-Purposed_Trend 3

IKEA FRAKTA Bag - Zhijun Wang & Yutong Duan

The last year has hinted towards what a greener and fair world might look like, and we trust 2021 to be the year that we heed these lessons and utilise this collective spirit to help counter climate change and other social injustices.

Alongside taking a break from consumption and focussing more on the planet, there is also a sober insurgence resonating in people across the globe. End users are taking ownership for their actions and becoming more mindful of their social responsibility, and this extends to the services they use, products they buy and places they frequent.

Graphic design is expected to take a more authentic slant. It’s about being transparent and gaining trust. There is a desire for ‘raw’ marketing and stripped back, minimal designs that state their purpose.

With ephemeral consumption on the out, healthy, sustainable, environmentally-conscious design is in fact a need and not just a luxury. Consumers will expect environmental diligence from the off-set, and there will be an appetite for re-purposed and recycled products and materials in a drive to accelerate our sustainable growth.



Pandemic-proof Ecosystems_Trend 4

Pandemic Proof City - Guallart Architects

2020 pushed the urban model to its limit. Having seen how the pandemic has challenged many aspects of city life, the design of future-resillient infrastructure and urban developments are of the utmost importance.

We have witnessed a resurgence of community spirit brought on by the response the pandemic has ignited in neighbourhoods. Local lockdowns have meant communities are becoming increasingly self-sufficient and collaborative. Neighbours are supporting one another more, and small scale enterprises, retail outlets and other local services are increasingly desirable. According to YouGov, 23% UK consumers are purchasing more often from their local corner shop.

We expect the coming year to launch an appetite for micro over macro. Shifting the focus away from city-dominant living in order to give life to micro-societies and ‘15-minute-cities’. These concepts promote safer urban models for future pandemics by reducing the size of communities and the need to travel further afield.

Immediacy is also a hot topic. With people evolving to have more hyper-localised mindsets, scaled down community hubs, de-centralised care-giving and scattered modular 24hr services, will out-weigh the demand for larger nucleus sites.

‘Pandemic proof’ developments such as this one designed for the Hebei province 80 miles from Beijing, aims to protect residents from future pandemics. The concept, developed by Guallart Architects, promotes a contained community ecosystem. It features wooden apartment blocks; rooftop hydroponic farms; greenhouses to grow food; renewable energy solutions; drone-friendly terraces; home working spaces; and workshops containing 3D printers; to facilitate the rapid replacement of items in the event of supply chain disruption.



The colours of social distancing_Trend 5

The use of colour is becoming an integral part of the public landscape. Besides enriching environments, 2021 is seeing it as vital to communicate Covid-sensitive topics across the globe.

Colour blocking is due to become ever-more prominent in shared spaces, re-framing the visual language of social distancing and utilising bright hues to ensure the safer navigation of indoor and outdoor realms.

We have also witnessed colour’s role to graphically communicate clarity for more strategic measures, and we expect this role to continue in future political broadcasts regarding tier information and infection risk.

Wearable colour to express personal preferences in a future-Covid society is also an emerging trend for 2021. Wearable tags and colour-coded bracelets are already making an appearance in various parts of the globe, and have the potential to act as a universal language for antibody status and social distancing preferences. Additionally, specially made coloured garments and accessories, such as the hi-visibilty tote bags provided by Swedish rail company, Västtrafik, are being used to create positive barriers on public transport networks This is in a bid to maintain social distancing rules and reduce unwanted confrontation.



Words by Georgina Hughes, Design Strategist