Every year, color and material consultant Laura Guido-Clark helps HP update its memory-keeping products — customizable photo albums, posters, and greeting cards sold in its retail photo centers. She aims to tailor materials and finishes to the cultural climate, and for 2009-2010, she is thinking, "People need optimism." HP's new products will feature vibrant colors such as "corals and brighter blues," and materials such as linen and embossed leather, which suggest a "back-to-nature" sentiment among consumers. There's also a touch of escapism: "We have some sweet little animal patterns," says Guido-Clark, "which lighten the load a little bit." Awww... .
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A version of this article appeared in the February 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.