It’s easy to assume that dogs are content with life’s bare necessities, but that never quite sufficed for Abby Gnanendran. In 2009, he co-founded the pet products brand Earth Rated to provide biodegradable, plastic waste bags to service the burgeoning $55 billion pet industry. That, and give peace of mind to doting pet owners who treat their four-legged friends like family and are aware of the environmental implications of responsible dog waste disposal. The market matured over the past decade as pollution concerns deepened and primped-up pooches started doing numbers online, so Earth Rated sought another rebrand.
That’s where Layer, the London industrial design firm founded by Benjamin Hubert, came in to freshen up Earth Rated’s branding and add five new toys to its repertoire. “The new products are all highly durable, cost-effective, and mindful of the planet,” Hubert says. “They need to be, because effectively dogs are aiming to destroy them.” The doggy bags didn’t need major upgrades—they still employ post-consumer recycled plastic but now act as a “billboard” for Earth Rated’s crisp, sans-serif logo as the bag unrolls from a ribbed green holder.
The toys are where Layer’s intervention truly shines. Each dishwasher-safe natural rubber toy deftly combines fun and function while showcasing Layer’s signature minimalism. “We made a conscious effort to avoid clichéd-shape languages that are overused in the pet-toy market,” Hubert says, referring to bones and hydrants. The Chew Toy mimics a bone’s general shape while adding compartments to stuff treats inside; ribbed textures are easily gripped by paws and teeth. The Fetch Toy’s two intersecting volumes yield unpredictable bounces when thrown. Along with the Fly Toy, it comes in a bright yellow shade—one of the few colors visible to dogs, and one that can help humans easily locate it in grass or brush.