Clinic’s Sage & Onions wins DBA Inclusive Design Challenge

Clinic’s Sage & Onions project, which will enable people of different age groups to exchange advice and experiences, has won the 2010 Design Business Association Inclusive Design Challenge.


The theme for this year’s challenge was active ageing, and entrants were tasked with combating negative stereotypes of ageing, embracing diversity and communicating older people’s aspirations and needs.

The Sage & Onions scheme is a communications project aimed at encouraging people of all ages to trade their time and skills with each other and develop community networks.

The judges described it as, ‘A witty and vibrant piece of communication design that gives local bartering a brand identity and national profile.’ They added, ‘It has a high likelihood of implementation because it is scaleable and based on longstanding community networking and skill-sharing models.’

Sage & Onions saw off fellow shortlisted schemes Move, by 1HQ, which is a product with an ‘active surface’ that uses shape-identification and nanofibre technology to allow its surroundings to adapt to the user; and a project from BWA Design that allows users to add footnotes to Internet pages.

The fourth shortlisted project was Epitype’s Open graphics scheme, which uses a brackets device in an advertising campaign to highlight misconceptions about ageing, culminating in a voluntary accreditation scheme.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the DBA Inclusive Design Challenge, and the Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting an exhibition about the challenge from 19 April to 16 May.

Julia Cassim, senior research fellow at the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre and co-ordinator of the Inclusive Design Challenge, says, ‘I think that a decade of pioneering inclusive projects has demonstrated conclusively that working with disabled and older users can be a route to significant design innovation and is a no-brainer in new business terms, given the greying demographic and the need for beautiful and functional products, services and environments.’

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