The evolving design response to COVID-19


Kate Ortbal

Research Manager, New York

Categories Uncategorized

Good design responds to our ever-evolving world, and nothing more poignant than COVID-19 has inspired change over the past year.

When our attention first shifted to COVID-19 in early 2020, designers and innovators were hyper-focused on physical safety and hygiene— targeted messaging, focused pack design, and new products and procedures burst onto the scene.

However, as social isolation and distance drag on, our needs have broadened beyond just our physical safety; and brands realize that responding to COVID-19 has evolve.

A design response to COVID-19 isn’t just about addressing our physical needs, it’s about solving for the emotional need for connection to the things we love.

Across design, innovation, and delivery, we’re excited about brands connecting with consumers at an emotional level during this difficult time:

Lay’s Taste of the World: A sense of exploration at home

With vacations being postponed or cancelled, Lay’s saw an opportunity to bring a Taste of the World to consumers’ homes. They have released four limited edition flavors inspired by different countries that can be won through social media. There is still uncertainty as to when worldwide travel will be safe and allowed again, but while people are stuck at home snacking and longing for their holiday, Lay’s Taste of the World flavors satisfy both snacking and travel cravings. Each pack cleverly incorporates both the flavor and the country it represents. Through use of color and graphics, the packs give a clear depiction of the vacation destinations that customers will be getting a taste of.  Eating potato chips just got highly aspirational!


Jägermeister + Save the Night: Reassurance that the dance floor’s not dead

Rowdy bars and crowded nightclubs are slowly becoming distant memories, but Jägermeister is making sure they will still be here in the future. Save the Night is an initiative by Jägermeister to support the struggling nightlife industry during COVID-19. Jägermeister have produced limited edition bottles and for the first time in their history, have changed their label for the cause. Designed by German illustrator, Max Löffler, the Save the Night bottle sends a message of hope. There is much concern over the future of nightlife and when it will be back, and Jägermeister is providing assurance that the good times will return. For each market that makes the new bottle available, Jägermeister has committed €1 million in funds to nightlife professionals in that area, ensuring that they will be able to provide good times once again. It’s a small token of solidarity and comfort to those who work in nightlife, and those who are missing it. The bottle illustration, including light beams and a tunnel, embodies nightlife while outlining the Save the Night initiative and the path towards its future.


Dallas Cowboys’ Gameday at home: A sensory connection to the game

Sports have looked very different this year, as each league has had to carefully navigate COVID-19 in order to deliver for fans. The Dallas Cowboys, along with  Legends Hospitality (popular AT&T Stadium concessionaire), are offering a food delivery service that allows local fans to enjoy game-day favorites in the comfort of their own homes. Many fans were extremely worried that they would not get to indulge in their favorite sports this year and were delighted when leagues created “bubbles” to allow for shorter, safer game seasons.

While many leagues have focused on enhancing in-stadium happenings, whether that be miking up players, or using audience audio, The Dallas Cowboys have taken a different approach. The franchise is enhancing the at-home gameday experience by providing fans access to stadium grub, at home.

By making concession favorites (an inherent piece of the game-day experience) available for at-home delivery, the Cowboys are facilitating a more authentic gameday experience. While sports and game day are definitely not the same in 2020, The Dallas Cowboys have found a clever way to deepen their fans’


While there is still much uncertainty over how long we will be staying at home, there is comfort in knowing that brands want to make sure we don’t miss out on too much. But, for the time being, let our living rooms become stadiums, our kitchens become bars, or even different countries, until we can have the real thing once again!