Sabi in catchword

A Spoonful of Style Makes the Medicine Go Down: Sabi Brand Name Review
By: Eunice Park February 2, 2012

Baby bumps have been sexy for a while, but baby boomers? Think again. As more of the U.S. enters its golden years, a bevy of brands sees a golden opportunity to court an ignored demographic. According to this recent Co.Design article, “People over 50 account for 67 percent of America’s consumption…only 5 pecent of marketing spending is geared toward them. And if you look within that 5 percent, 92 percent of it is pharmaceuticals and financial products.”

The world’s 55+ segment burgeons with an estimated $3.4 trillion worth of annual buying power, and boomers are ready to show deserving brands the money. They’re tons hipper than their predecessors – not to mention ergonomically, economically, and aesthetically discriminating. The time’s ripe for refined products and brands that cater specifically to their health needs without yelling “early bird special.”

Inspired by democratically design-minded brands Method, OXO, Dyson, and Simplehuman, Sabi seeks to bring sophisticated design to the seasoned masses. The brand’s founder, Assaf Wand, says the idea for Sabi came from his mother’s quest for a discreet, user-friendly way to take her medications. He teamed up with Yves Béhar of renowned industrial design firm Fuseproject to create a better-looking way to swallow those bitter pills.

Wand is savvy enough to not limit the age appeal of his “health and wellness” products, saying that Sabi wants to “transform mundane daily chores – taking pills, taking out the trash, getting dressed, opening jars – into moments full of delight…across all life stages.” Behar believes Sabi “will make sense to an older generation in need of solutions, but also to a younger set of users that simply expect good design everywhere.”

Sabi products are meant to be pretty and poetic with enhanced quality, versatility, and utility. Take for instance, the Folio, a pill organizer that mimics a sleek Moleskine notebook. The name “sabi” perfectly encapsulates its mission, to “elevate people’s experience of everyday life.” Derived from the Japanese aesthetic construct, “sabi” means beauty that comes with age; the concept that use – and the artful mending of damage – can actually make an object more beautiful and valuable.

“Sabi” might ring a bell because of the ascendance of “wabi-sabi” into the popular consciousness. The brand’s website defines it as, “寂  SABI [/sab-i/] noun – a Japanese cultural aesthetic inspired by the notion of life’s transitory and evanescent nature. Deliberate or cultivated simplicity in daily living. Artistic representation that strives toward refined understatement.”

As conceptual and highbrow as this language sounds, the name “Sabi” is an excellent choice for this brand. It’s differentiated in the marketplace, easy to spell and pronounce, memorable, evocative, and rife with positive, layered meanings. At just four letters, it’s short, sweet and looks great visually – stark and simple on packaging, product, digital and print communications. Its tonality is spot-on: pure and spare, in-sync with the pared-down look and feel.

The names of Sabi’s three product lines: Vitality, Agility, and Mobility are exact and elegant, along with its individual products. For example, each Vitality product’s name is short and evocative, conveying its functional benefit with a bit of fun: Chop (easy pill cutter), Crush (easy pill smasher), Folio (pill traveler), Grande Carafe (pills + water bottle), Holster (daily pill clip), and Shake (easy pill dispenser).

Finally, a brand that takes the pain out of popping pills, with a dose of slick style and a catchy name. That’s something I won’t get sick of anytime soon.

Overall Name Grade: A

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