Healthier Lifestyles, By Design


 “We all intend to lead healthier lives…tomorrow. Through design we can nudge people to make positive choices, today.”

Ask anyone on the street and they’ll tell you they plan to improve their diet, be more active and get more sleep. Yet 63% of Brits are overweight or obese and 40% of Americans are sleep deprived. There stands a huge divide between aspiration and action. As impulsive, emotional creatures, we humans tend to prioritise short term gratification over long term health. So how can brands help solve this daily tension?

In our Democratising Wellness Webinar last month, we took a design perspective to the growing field of Behavioural Economics. By building upon the pioneering work of the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team (‘Nudge Unit’) we explored how their framework can be applied to design briefs to promote healthy lifestyles. Here are 4 examples of designed nudges that are helping people to realise their best intentions.

Helping Hand

Principle 1: Make it Easy

Overeating is a key factor in soaring obesity rates. Interestingly, researchers have found a parallel between the increase in obesity rates and the size of dinner plates (increasing from a 9-inch diameter in 1950s, to 13-inches in 2010) – the perfect example of a negative nudge. So how can we use design to reverse the trend?

Photo by Andrew Welch

Photo by Andrew Welch

Navigating food labels and portioning remains complex. Through showing people how to use their own 2 hands, we can easily recalibrate to correct (personalised!) portions. Carbs like pasta should be limited to the size of your clenched fist, protein the size of your palm and butter just a fingertip. While a single serve of (the recommended 5-a-day) fruit and veg is as much as you can fit in your cupped hands.

Elevated Sensorials

Principle 2: Make it Attractive

A large part of wellness is about self-awareness and yet we so often ignore our instincts. Consider hydration. In a YouGov survey of more than 2,000 British adults, 17% said they didn't drink any glasses of water during the average day. While just 8% consumed the recommended 1.5 litres. Why is such a simple and necessary habit so difficult to stick to? More often than not - boredom.

Source: In’fuse

Source: In’fuse

The wellness and sustainability trends have resulted in a proliferation of durable water bottles that provide a visual prompt to stay hydrated. Through a combination of premium materials, iconic shapes, vibrant colours and added benefits, drinking water has been transformed into a multi-sensory delight! Notably, Twinings has had marked success with their In’fuse cold tea bags and bottle that upgrade tap water to a delicious treat. Since last year’s launch, they have sold to over 1m people and own 81.2% of the market share of this new and growing category.

Re-framing Taboos

Principle 3: Make it Social

Social stigmas create big barriers to wellness. From meditation apps to CBD, when people find products embarrassing or difficult to relate to personally, they can limit their health outcomes.


In our recent work with Sea CBD, we developed a clean and contemporary visual language to give a fringe product, mainstream appeal. The sea analogy and assets have helped to move the category on from cliched cannabis imagery and stoner connotations to show the raft of physical and mental health benefits in a fresh and credible light.

Right idea, right now

Based on Principle 4: Make it Timely

We are creatures of habit, so behaviour is generally easier to change when our normal routine is already disrupted. Significant personal events like moving house and getting pregnant tend to put us in a reflective mood. We pay fresh attention to old habits; re-evaluating which choices will serve us best in the next chapter.

Source: Ritual

Source: Ritual

Ritual Founder Katerina Schneider’s company was born from her own personal experience. “When I was pregnant, I turned my house upside down to get rid of products with ingredients I couldn't get behind.” And when she couldn’t find a trustworthy brand of prenatal vitamins, she decided to create her own. The range of filler-free capsules have been designed to provide honesty and reassurance. From the transparent capsules that reveal individual beads of ingredients to the simple but sunny delivery boxes with reaffirming benefits – the brand inspires expectant mums to start a new daily ritual.

How can your brand play a credible role in wellness?

The wellness economy was recently valued at $4.2 trillion. At Echo, we see consumer brands playing an integral role by encouraging healthy habits and balanced lifestyles. Through innovation, we can design products and services that sit at the intersection of health and hedonism. We can deliver satisfaction in the moment while also setting people up for long term good health. And by understanding behavioural economics and using the power of design we can make these choices incredibly attractive and easy!