Insights 07/07/2020 Newsroom

Nudge Design: Fountain of Hygiene Hand Sanitiser Design Competition

Originally featured in Marketing Communication News

Revamping of a ‘clinical’ product to an aspirational wellness one is set to drive behaviour change and preserve the health of global society Anti-bacterial ’cocoons’ and antiviral mist-dispensing doorbells among futuristic concepts developed by innovation and design agency Echo.

Design and innovation agency Echo has reimagined hand sanitation with three concept designs that showcase how personal hygiene will evolve – both within the public domain and in the personal abode – in a post-coronavirus landscape.


The innovation team predicts that the pandemic will see an imminent radical design overhaul of the category – previously deemed functional, industrial and utilitarian – into an aspirational wellness proposition set to spark meaningful adaptive behaviours to the rituals of hand cleansing, globally.

“Hand sanitiser has become one of the most sought after products in the COVID-19 crisis, that has grown limited in supply and thus valued more highly,” commented Tashi van der Waerden, Innovation Director, Echo. “Yet it’s drab clinical image – often associated with doctors, hospitals and compulsive cleaning disorders – may do little to invoke lasting behavioural change in terms of personal hygiene post-pandemic. That’s because hand washing is often a begrudged chore, borne out of obligation, not pleasure. By repositioning hand sanitiser in the context of the aspirational wellness movement, the ritual can become an act of self-care and a positive lifestyle choice that can be more easily adopted.”

Underpinned by established human behavioural patterns and biases, the concepts address whether design can make people more proactive with hand hygiene as well as mobilise a new behavioural norm in public and personal spaces through sensorial innovation and gamification. The results of these insights include anti-bacterial hand cocoons that dispense calming lights and sounds with a fragrant decontaminating mist, and antiviral mist-dispensing doorbells that become the home’s essential first line of defense against pathogens.

The concepts were inspired by Bompas & Parr’s Fountain of Hygiene competition, which challenged designers to envision the future of sanitiser by exploring the aesthetic, function and experiential possibilities of personal hygiene in the future.

Echo’s hand sanitiser concepts include:

THE PURGO: Shortlisted for the Bompas & Parr competition and designed for public spaces, this is a cocoon-shaped sanitation system that intrigues passers-by through emitting soft, refreshing light and soothing sounds. Once in use, the embedded sensors generate bespoke sanitising liquid for the individual which is diffused as a powerful and fragrant mist. The Purgo’s pulsing ring of light and melodic sounds act as a subtle timer, nudging people to continue the cleansing process for 20 seconds. The design leverages the cognitive bias towards social norms – by installing the basins in shared spaces, such as offices and train stations, new habits can be seeded, making hand sanitisation appear commonplace and socially expected.

THE ARMUS: Inspired by oversized statement sleeves, these detachable cuffs keep hands clean. 3D printed to achieve zero-waste material, the cuffs – like a modern take on the lace filigree – provides a flexible and sustainable barrier to germs that lie on the surfaces we interact with on a daily basis. The ‘hand armour’ is a bold fashion move which allows wearers to continue using smartphones, handrails etc. in a more hygienic manner. The Armus was also shortlisted for the Bompas & Parr competition and was the inspiration of designer and Echo associate Ela Kemp.

THE BELL PULL: A modernist-style doorbell that sprays hand sanitiser when pulled. The contemporary design brings traditional formal rituals around the front door into the 21st century at a moment where hand sanitation is ever more important. Reinforcing the home as a safe and sanitary sanctum, the ‘guest’ rings the doorbell by entering their hand into the device, which sprays the open hand with fine antibacterial mist; the ritual is to ring the bell twice so that both hands are sanitised.

Materials employed within the three designs include copper nano technology, known for its antibacterial and antiviral powers that inhibit surface growth of germs. The collection is further unified by a complementary neutral palette and range of organic textures, including brushed copper, matt ceramic and 3D printed ‘lace’.

“The coronavirus has piqued a very primal fear within us. Even as the current crisis comes to pass, we will continue to regard each other with caution, viewing mouths and hands as harbingers of disease. The handshake and the double kiss greeting will be reserved only for our most trusted friends and beloved family,” Tashi van der Waerden, Echo, continued. “Yet, we will still yearn for human contact and the hand sanitiser will play a key role in solving that tension. Innovation will see the category evolve from personal on-the-go products to focus on public installations and shared rituals that will shift perceptions on hand cleansing from a personal ‘choice’ to a habitual norm.”

Read the article on Marketing Communication News here