How can design change the world? How do we design something sustainable for our planet or society? As a creative who has been working closely with sustainable brands and projects, these questions are very critical to me.

Recently, I have come across the thinking approach called, “Life cycle thinking”. I have to admit that, there are some areas I wish I should have dived even deeper into. It also makes me wonder, about what more can we do, especially when we make decisions at each design phase.

Firstly, what is the “Life cycle thinking approach”?

Life cycle thinking approach

To simply explain this, life cycle thinking is about going beyond designing what is most sustainable for the planet, environment, and society. It’s about concentrating on the decision we take at each stage, with the key goals in mind, to reduce a product’s resource use and emissions to the environment as much as possible.

Here are 5 Life cycle thinking stages:

  1. Conceptualisation: Be mindful of the design and choose environmentally conscious materials when possible
  2. Manufacturing: Processing of materials (Assembly and completion)
  3. Distribution: Packaging, transporting and storing products/tools
  4. Lifetime use: Making the most use of what we have
  5. End of Life: Rethinking

So, where can we adopt this mindset into?

Print Production

  • Print production

To the big fan of sustainable designs out there, I believe many of us have heard enough about, environmentally conscious materials, recyclable materials or FSC-certified paper.  So, let’s talk about the people behind the print production! We should take this opportunity to expand our production partners, to work with local organisations, but be cautious against greenwashing. Not only it’s more cost-effective but it also helps local businesses to grow as well. YAY!


  • Event Production

In these past years, brands start adapting their ways of communicating with their customers, to maintain relevance and are always ready to adapt due to any circumstance. While meeting face-to-face is important, the hybrid event can be a way to accommodate attendees and those who are focusing on reducing their personal carbon footprint. Speaking of events, how can we not talk about food? Believe it or not, catering vegetarian food as an option can help the planet, as it requires less resources and energy in processing. Raise your glass up if you are a vegan fan!

Video Production

  • Video production

Today, it’s impossible to deny that video content has become the top priority for marketers and brands. We make decisions based on the content we consume. Whether short-form content, live streaming or even scrolling through one of the giant social media platforms, Tiktok.

So, how can we apply life cycle thinking to video production? Understanding what requires for the video, and its duration. Make a checklist on must-buy items/props or rent, to minimise the wastage after the shoot. Plan out your shoot locations to avoid unnecessary transportation. Reach out to local crews or work remotely instead of flying your crews can help reduce the carbon footprint and save your cost as well!

In conclusion
Can design change the world? Of course, yes! Design with a sensibility to the environment, and society can definitely make a huge impact. I believe everyone is creative, regardless of what job they do, or the experiences they have. Take this Life cycle thinking mindset as your first step. We are the decision-makers, and we all have a role to shave and inspire our society.

So, based on this thinking approach, what will be your next design?

Let’s talk about sustainable designs. Why consumers demand it and how your brand can adopt it.

First, meet the eco consumer

We all know that #Sustainability is more than just a passing trend today. The rise of e-commerce marketing has made it easier for consumers to shop and research the brand they’re buying from. With consumers calling out on unsustainable brands and supporting small, greener businesses. As such, adopting and owning sustainable design practices is no longer a choice, but it is a necessity. And by choosing sustainable designs, your business can combat both climate change and boost brand loyalty.

A glimpse into sustainable brands

As I mentioned, brands are now shifting their sights toward sustainability.  Many looking for ways to drive relevancy between their consumer and products. Some brands are even starting from the bottom.


Who Gives A Crap, a toilet paper manufacturer claims that their products are “Good for your bum and great for the world”. Well, they’re right! Their products are 100% plastic-free and made from 100% recycled paper or 100% bamboo. Additionally, 50% of their profits are donated to help build toilets for communities in need around the world.

Sustainable-Toilet-Paper-by-Who-Gives-A-CrapKey takeaway: When your brand purpose meets your customer needs, it does not matter what your product is. This brand not only engages their customers with their marketing and humour, but they’ve also crossed 3 boxes. First, it’s good for the planet (B-Corp certified). Second, it’s good for the people. And third, it’s good for your bum (free of inks, dyes and scents).

And hands up if you are a huge fan of tote bags! Muji, a Japanese homeware brand specialising in minimal and sustainable products is changing the world – one tote at a time.

To reduce plastic waste, Muji charges extra for bags, encourages their customers to reuse their paper bags and purchase cotton tote bags. If you are a Muji fan, it’s no surprise if you already own one of them!


Even their clothing hooks and hangers are made up of biodegradable materials.

Sustainable-Socks-Hanger-by-MujiKey takeaway: Muji has proven that combating climate change simply starts with the customer.

A quick guide to green design

Sourcing the right materials:

Creating sustainable designs is thinking with a secondary goal. For example, choosing eco materials that can be recycled or reducing the manufacturing process to cut carbon footprint. If you are looking beyond the recycled material, FSC-certified paper can be another great alternative for your packaging designs.

Sticking with strategy:

Having a social presence is a great way to identify what your consumers want. With many brands riding on the latest social trends to engage new consumers. However, not every trend will fit your brand’s tone. Stick to your brand’s belief. Take different, unique approaches. Change the world from your brand’s point of view.

There are numerous ways a brand can embrace sustainability. What’s important is to take that first step. Find out how you can weave sustainability purpose into practice.

In conclusion

Sustainable packages don’t mean more budget. Believe it or not, greener designs might mean using lesser materials. With extra care, detail and thought, creating products your consumers love while combating climate change will be easier than you think.

Any green ideas to add to your next design campaign?

If you’re thinking to utilise TikTok for your brand, now it’s time to get on board. With 2.6 billion downloads, it’s no surprise that Tiktok is becoming more popular among content producers and brands wanting to expand their audience, and reach millions of people.

However, for some users, it may be a scary social media platform. What if you don’t know how to dance? Is it necessary to be a video expert? Fortunately, no dancing or video skill is necessary to utilise TikTok successfully. The best way to start is to keep your content fun and authentic.

Here is one great example:

You may have come across the video of a man skateboarding down an empty street with Ocean Spray’s Cranberry juice in his hand while he lip-syncs to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 song “Dreams.” The video became so popular, many people started to re-create their own with Ocean Spray’s Cranberry juice – even Fleetwood Mac’s drummer himself as well. As a result, this one video alone earned Ocean Spray 15 billion media impressions to date.  

The video was not sponsored by the juice brand at all – just great beats and fun vibes made the brand trend overnight.


Type of content that your brand can consider

Collaboration with an influencer:

Users on Tiktok are younger than on other platforms, with Gen Z constituting the largest group, collaboration with an influencer is a great approach to boost your TikTok visibility. It’s time to activate your stalking skill (not too creepy way though.) Choose your influencers cautiously to ensure that their professional activity matches your brand or product. See the kind of material that a certain influencer is providing. Lastly, don’t forget to check whether the influencer has sparked any controversy that might be detrimental to your brand. 


Let’s unbox this big package together..! What do you think of the elegant #Capucines by @louisvuitton 🧡 I’m in LVoe! #louisvuitton #lvcapucines

♬ midnight sun – Ramzoid

A well-known influencer’s endorsement or cooperation can offer your brand attention and evident coolness; watching them use your product will make others want to use it as well.

User-generated content:

Brands can include user-generated material into their brands’ TikTok accounts by reaching your customers and repost their finest video. To begin with UGC, ask your customers to include your hashtag in the caption of their videos. This will add authenticity and provide publicity to your brand. Take [as] challenge by adultswim. The hashtag encourages users to recreate their own video with [as] appearing in their video. As a result, #as has gained 3.2 billion views on Tiktok to date.


We see you #adultswim #adultswimbump #vano3000

♬ Running Away – VANO 3000 & BADBADNOTGOOD & Samuel T. Herring


Some tips for your brand’s TikTok content:

Brands interested in creating a presence on TikTok should consider some of the best practices. Here are some tips:

  1. Firstly, keep it short! Most videos are around 15 seconds. So it’s best to leap straight to the point before users swipe away for their next video.
  2. Make use of music. It is a key element of Tiktok that keep your video more engaging.
  3. Make sure to use the correct format for the platform, best to keep it vertical rather than horizontal, which results in black bars above and below. 
  4. Make use of a challenge! This is another great way to engage users to create their content or tag their friends to participate. Using the right SEO hashtags that are relatively generic help your brand reach out to broad audiences as well. For example, #localbusiness, #marketingtips, etc
  5. Collaborate with influencers and business partners. Taking use of a TikTok influencer’s established following may immediately increase engagement and visibility.
  6. Keep your captions engaging to stir up your customers’ curiosity and encourage them to watch or leave comments.
  7. You can also add a compelling CTA as well.
  8. Lastly, engage with other Tiktokers as well. Whether leave comments, responds or like their videos. The more active and engagement rates will help Tiktok algorithm pick them up and improve your content visibility. 

So should your brand consider creating TikTok content?

Of course! With just a 15-60 seconds video clip, your brand could experience nearly instant results. With the right amusing, instructive and authentic content, TikTok could drastically increase your brand’s relevancy, exposure and engagement rates.

Are you ready to start your brand’s account and get your content on the #fyp?

Today, the rise of online customers’ expectations toward brands to produce thumb-stopping content and capture their attention has been challenging brands to improve their content marketing. People are demanding more meaningful experiences and more engaging content. Besides helping brands stand out and create brand recall, interactive content can help draw in some potential business partnerships as well! How?


First, what is interactive content?

Interactive content is a 2-way experience. It’s a conversation between brands and customers. Brands need to understand the root of their customers’ problems or needs and then point them to solutions. Rather than passive reading, interactive content encourages customers to take action. It can take the format of sharable content, entertainment and even shoppable posts. With interactive content, customers take an active role in consuming content by interacting through likes, swipes, shares, or even through games. The longer they stay and interact with content, the more brands are able to collect valuable insights and understand their customers’ persona.


5 types of interactive content your brand can explore

1. Interactive infographics

With info-heavy content, there is a chance your customers will not be able to absorb everything. While it’s true that static infographics can act as a visual representation of information or data, they can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. But what if we give control back to the reader, and let them choose how they want to consume this content? You can hide certain non-critical information, for instance, and point the reader to explore and tap or scroll to reveal it. To take it to another level, adding purposeful animation can further aid understanding and absorption of information, not to mention directing attention and incentivising such interactions and engagement.

2. Shoppable posts 

Welcome to the era of online shopping! As shop-streaming becomes more and more popular, shoppable content lets customers buy products immediately during a livestream. This simplifies the whole shopping experience to just a few taps. By making content shoppable, information such as price and product details can be called up with just 1 tap. It even enables customers to make a purchase right away as they scroll through social media. This reduces friction in e-commerce, and makes moving between shopping and social sharing seamless. In the age of social distancing and lesser footfalls to brick-and-mortar stores, shoppable content is the solution for brands to make their products easily available, especially if done through social media.


Shoppable content is not just limited to static content! Check out what Ikea did by combining video with shoppable content.

3. Virtual Reality

What if you can interact with a video, rather than passively watching it?  Let’s take a look at how Boursin Sensorium is killing it with how they sell their soft cheese. Fancy a roller coaster ride through the fridge? Say no more. Just watch!

Not only has this experiential video increased brand awareness among a younger target audience, it has also sparked conversations and increased sales for products featured in the video. 

4. Interactive quizzes

Research says that our attention span is getting shorter and narrower each year, dropping from 12 to 8 secs since the dawn of the smartphone era. Even more alarming is the fact that our attention span is now even shorter than a goldfish, which is 9 secs! This makes it clear that customers can lose interest quickly in content you want them to see. So how can you keep them from wandering away? Another way is to get them to participate and play! Check out this interactive quiz from Adobe’s creative types quiz

I got the red fella who’s creating beauty and seeing beauty….What’s yours?

5. Interactive email

Over the past year, many of us have probably received random friendly check-ins that may have started something like, “Hope you have a good day! By the way, we have this new…” Make no mistake, it’s not wrong. But have you ever bothered to read them at all? We get it, there are so many email you have to go through each day. But how can we make email more enjoyable? Through rich media content like GIFs, videos, or interactive formats! Here are some examples:

Interactive_Emails_RefsBelieve it or not, interactive email content can increase the click-to-open rate by 73%. This is because people want to see something engaging in order to be curious enough to see more. This is also a great opportunity for brands to show off a bit of their brand personality.


So why should brands consider interactive content?

Interactive content can be a great tool that brands can use to communicate and engage with customers. But the strategy and the planning behind it are even more critical. At the end of the day, brands need to ensure that they know who their target audience is, and be careful not to let fancy interaction overshadow the messages they are trying to communicate.

So what will your next content be? We can’t wait to interact with it.

Character Animator

Character animation has always been revolving around us. Whether it’s old-school, frame-by-frame drawing animation, to new-school, oddly-satisfying 3D illustration by Dimension. Or simple 2D brand character animations. These magical feats of graphical prowess create long-lasting impact for brands and marketing campaigns. Especially now in our multi-platform, device-addict society.


Dumb Ways to Die 

You are probably living under a rock if you’ve never heard about this phenomenon campaign! The animated character was done intentionally to appeal to worldwide audiences, as well as the vocalist’s genius choice, working together to turn a serious public safety campaign into memorable storytelling. Not only did their video earned 197 million impressions on Youtube, it also strengthened brand message recall whenever we hear the song or see their quirky characters on print ads.


The Waldo Moment

The Black Mirror episode on Netflix series, ‘The Waldo Moment’,  released in 2013.
Hold on. Did they predict this future technology? 

Basically, this is how the Character Animator’s live recording process works! During the show (Don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler), the animated character mirrors the narrator who performs behind the screen. Not only did the animated character lip-syncs to the script but also expresses its feelings through facial expressions (e.g., smile, frown, angry, etc.) Similarly, its arms and legs are triggered by consoles. You should check it out!


Ok, so what is Character Animator?

Character Animator

Some of us might already know how powerful After Effects is when we talk about complex animation storytelling that WOW your audience. But have you ever considered a tool that can record real-time motion paired with conversational dialogues, and go live for your brand? 

Character Animator is an Emmy award-winning desktop software from Adobe, released in 2015. Like I mentioned, it allows us to record real-time motion, expressions, multi-track recording. The live inputs include a webcam for face-tracking, which enables the character to frown, smile, or blink their eyes according to our performance. The microphone for lip-syncs or voice recordings. Mouse and keyboard for triggering the character’s behaviour, which allows us to move around our arms, legs, or even switch the hidden group layers (e.g., additional props, different hand gestures, etc.) Breathe life into your 2D character and run seamless storytelling or live show for your brand.


Look! Some brands have already started on this.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The TV program launches the cartoon character of iconic guests, and interacts with the lead speaker in real-time!  They also introduce some actions which can be triggered with keyboards. (e.g., clapping hands, putting some props on, etc.) As a result, the animated character creates humour which brings laugh and joy to the audience. At the same time, it also lightens dry topics like political news and appeals to larger group audiences. 

Well, it seems like something from the Netflix series is getting real here.


The Simpsons: Homer Live – East Coast Feed

‘The Simpsons: Homer Live – East Coast Feed’. The broadcast character animation interacts with the live, pre-screened phone calls. It made audiences feel engaged with the show. Now you can plan your next marketing content, agency broadcast, or even live interview runs by Character Animator.




The tech giant, Apple, has also been working on something similar here. Say goodbye to the generic emoji. Now you can send your 30 seconds video virtual lookalike, or what we call Memoji that matches your personality and mood. Apple’s Face ID camera system will map the emoji character to your face so that they appear to mimic your facial expressions in a real-time recording.


But why now?

Everyone, including creative agencies, advertising brand, marketing brand, are adapting and steering their games to get closer to their customers. We see more animated brand video content than ever, as they help connect the brand to customers and create an impact on the viewer with limited resources.

Character Animator adds a fun new toy in a creative’s bag of tricks. This is especially important as creatives need to always remain up to date with new software and trends in order to remain resilient and nimble in the industry.


So, is Character Animator the right fit for your brand?

In conclusion, Character Animator is one of the great options that can boost your brand engagement, recall, and resonance with your customer. Also, it humanises brands and acts as a way to frame serious and dry topics in an appealing way for your customer.

Lastly, if you are looking to putting your hands on this Character Animator, here are 3 tips I would like to share with you:

1) Observe – It’s a good trait to have. See people’s facial expression and how they behave.

2) Know your audience –  Know your brand message, and understand your customer persona. The choice of character style can be aligned to your target audience. Hence, boosting recall and relevance for your brand.

3) Have fun! – Things will not go wrong when you have fun with the right intention and manner.

At the end of the day, marketers should consider how animated characters or avatars created via Character Animator will expand on their brand’s story. So what’s your brand’s story?