Benjamin Hubert‘s studio Layer has designed a range of self-care and sanitization products for Never Go Alone, a collection that aims to help protect against the coronavirus. Founded by fashion’s ‘Patient zero’ Nga Nguyen and Creative Director Carl Adelson, the brand is fuelled by the unprecedented changes that occurred in 2020 and a realization by Nga, who contracted the virus very early, that on reflection, these essential items we can no longer ignore can also be design led, sustainable and enhance our daily lives, so we feel protected not alone.
LAYER worked in close collaboration with the founders over the course of a year on branding, a range of protective products, packaging and art direction. The branding and inaugural collection – which includes a reusable face mask, refillable hand sanitiser, and refillable sanitising wipes case – is designed to empower users to visibly take ownership over their health and safety, while the packaging design is driven by observed human behaviours and environmental concerns. Never Go Alone launches globally in Spring 2021.
Never Go Alone is a wellness concept that was founded during the COVID-19 pandemic and empowers users to live and travel responsibly in times of unprecedented change. Founder, Nga Nguyen, approached LAYER in the early stages of the brand and the studio has been involved in almost every aspect of its development, from branding identity and packaging to product design. The inaugural collection, Edition 01: Sandstone, reimagines the world of hygiene and elevates the experience of sanitation and protection, both in the home and on-the-go. Each product creates a memorable experience through engagement of the senses, from tactile materiality and intuitive touchpoints to bespoke scents.
The Never Go Alone packaging has been designed with a focus on sustainability and features innovative on-the-go usability features informed by observation of human behaviours to elevate the hygiene experience and inspire new daily rituals. The sanitiser and hand wipe containers are refillable, reducing waste and encouraging users to build an ongoing relationship with the brand. To ensure the products are always within reach, the sculptural containers have been designed to be proudly displayed in the home or on your person rather than hidden away, and both the 75ml hand sanitiser bottle and hand wipes container feature a lanyard that can be easily attached to keys or a bag.
The packaging for the inaugural collection employs a rich palette of oranges and earthy neutrals to create a strong visual identity that differentiates the range from an often medical-driven marketplace. Softly rounded, ergonomic forms crafted from soft-touch materials – including injection-moulded recycled plastic and textile – enhance the experience of handling the products.
The Never Go Alone face mask is one of the key products in the collection. The innovative layered mask takes inspiration from the design language of athleisure to encourage use on the move, with a seamlessly bonded construction and adjustable features that offer exceptional comfort. The mask also features interchangeable ear loops so the user can customise colour and finish to their style and preference.
The outermost layer is a highly breathable and lightweight knitted fabric that conceals the filter. This is bonded to an ultrasuede mid-layer that mirrors the curves of the face and gives the mask a sculptural structure while providing soft touchpoints for the skin. The innermost layer is an advanced technical Superfine knit that incorporates antibacterial fibres for increased protection.
The replaceable bespoke PM2.5 filter comfortably fits the contours of the face and simply slips into an internal pocket. It offers a high degree of filtration from particulates and aerosols, and can reduce total airborne particulates by as much as 90%. The mask is available in three sizes and features a moldable nose bridge and adjustable elastic straps that can be fastened either around the ears or behind the head to ensure a snug fit. When not in use, the mask folds completely flat and can be stored in a convenient travel pouch to minimise risk of cross- contamination.
LAYER created the Never Go Alone brandmark to express the values of the brand using a simple and intuitive visual language. The n-shaped mark has a structured architectural form that evokes a welcoming arched doorway. The simplicity of the pure geometry embodies the confident spirit of Never Go Alone, and the silhouette has been sensitively crafted with equal positive and negative space to create a sense of calmness and balance – something everyone is seeking at this moment.
“As a studio, we are focused on using the power of design to shift perceptions and solve the challenges of today and tomorrow,” explains Benjamin Hubert – founder, Layer Design. “In today’s world, we believe it is essential to transform medical and hygiene products into sustainable lifestyle accessories that people want to use every day. We are also always interested in working with start-ups that have a strong foundation story. Nga was inspired to create Never Go Alone by her own powerful personal journey – that story combined with the current, ongoing challenges we face across the world created an exciting opportunity.”