Fighting Senior Isolation in the Global COVID Hackathon

We had the honor of joining the World Health Organization’s Global Covid Hackathon, #BuildforCOVID19, in partnership with Microsoft, Facebook, Slack, Pinterest, and others, to build solutions for “challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic.”

See the Visual Identity and Brand Strategy we built for MealsTogether, a project linking lonely seniors with youth for one-on-one, intergenerational dinner parties over video calls.

US Digital Response Hackathon - Meals Together - Brand Visual Identity

Social Distancing has made gathering challenging for many, however loneliness is a big problem that existed before the pandemic. Our seniors are being shut out of society, left to live out the end of their lives in isolation. We know loneliness is as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Meal time in particular is hard for folks. It’s our human instinct to bond with people over shared food, to laugh and learn, to connect, and to see and be seen. We hope this project is one way to ease some suffering, and make more nurturing, human connection possible.

The people Behind the Project
The idea for the project originated as part of the Youth Movement Against Alzheimers, in partnership with Robert Egger, the man behind LA Kitchen, “which recovers locally sourced, cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables to fuel a culinary arts job training program for men and women coming out of foster care, and older men and women returning from incarceration.”

The man has so many accolades, the only thing that seems to be missing is a Nobel Peace Prize. All that is to say, that there are people behind this project who serve the space, and want to see this work.

Norma Bostarr was leading the UX as part of the Youth Movement Against Alzheimers, and Facebook’s Rishabh Aggarwal was leading dev and web design, with a team of passionate student web designers and illustrators. Everyone was a super lovely and amazing human, and it was a joy to work together.

Design for Seniors
This is a particularly meaningful project for us, partly because there are very few beautifully designed products for seniors, meaning we are some of the first companies to create appealing design for older folks. (Catch up, rest of the world!)

US Digital Response Hackathon - Meals Together - Research

Design for seniors includes high contrast, and larger fonts for older eyes. It also includes an illustrative approach that’s fun, engaging, artful, and extra legible, since this was a great opportunity for us to provide design for seniors that is JOYFUL and FULL OF LIFE.

US Digital Response Hackathon - Meals Together - Visuals

Streamlined processes
Due to tight turnarounds, we had to streamline our processes to deliver a full brand strategy and visual identity in only a week.

Now we’re prepared to do light weight, essential strategy and brand work for early-stage startups and nonprofits, as a Minimum Viable Brand of sorts, in addition to our robust, in-depth strategies and concepts better geared for those who have already found product-market fit and want deep identity work.

Check it out, and do let your people know about it. It’s a touching concept that has the potential to help a lot of isolated folks, regardless of age.

Eva Frye

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