Service Design (MA)

Hyejin Lee

Dreaming a creative problem solver like MacGyver since the age of 6, helping people to enrich their lives with joy and good experiences is what I want to do for the rest of my life as a designer. After working as a UX designer in South Korea over the past 10 years, I realised I was not really fulfilled with my design because it was a touchpoint of a part of the journey, not holistic understanding of the service and experience. This notion brought me to challenge myself to come to study Service Design at RCA. I do believe that service design can create values and enhance wellbeing through behavioural changes.

I have had amazing opportunities and compliments of my design here. AVII, the personal AI steward, won a disruptive innovation prize at British Airways 100 anniversary celebration. Furthermore, its AR design I made most commitments was exhibited at Saatchi Gallery. Also, I worked with Apple this January to deliver a new experience of mindfulness called “Mindfulness with my cheeky monsters” at Apple Covent Garden.

With invaluable experience and learning at RCA, the goal to go to the next page in my life is sharing knowledge to contribute to defining service design and nurturing good designers in my country.




Degree Details

School of Design

7 month it has been since Jina and I started working on the subject “Work with stress”. Design thinking for improving mental health was especially challenging for me who is keen to think logically and functionally.

The most difficult process was defining what is stress. How people perceive stress is subjective so that even we frequently found ourselves not on the same page. Obviously it was doubtful whether the ideas of tea, reflection and mindfulness would be working or not. However amazing moments followed while testing the ideas of Talk & Brew. We witnessed that a tea break with reflection was effective to let people unlock their emotions. And the contagious feelings further travelled to affect other’s minds. Someone burst into tears and someone was touched by the message on a teabag.

Also, this project helped me to make a better day through having an agency to carry on things which make me stay positive.

We want to go further to make more impacts with it especially in this pandemic people are suffering more and more difficulties to stay positive.

The Story of Talk & Brew — How might we help people 
to recognise and manage emotions
for quality communication and wellbeing? TALK & BREW answers this question with the story of stress, loneliness and emotions.

Talk & Brew - Brewing Tea for Warm Relationship — Talk&Brew is a specially designed tea service for people to elevate the quality of day by understanding their emotion and encouraging them to build good relationships.

Elevate Day and Mood with Talk Brew — The key values of Talk & Brew are to pause in busy life through digital reflection and a tea break enabling people to clarify and elevate their mood and communicate further.

Talk&Brew Delivery — After signing up and setting up a profile, the real experience starts with 10 different types of tea delivery.

Biodegradable Package — Eco-friendly package made out of biodegradable material arrives bi-weekly. Its design protects the environment in everyday life and makes it convenient to take tea one by one.

Quick and Effective Reflection — Email sent with tea delivery links directly to reflection. Simple and quick reflection helps people to see how they were feeling recently through capturing mood, triggers and actions.

Matching Tea with Emotions

Matching Tea with Emotions — After reflection, current emotion has been brewed and personalised matching tea and suggestions are sent. Curated tea and inspiration capture people’s eyes and let them enjoy moments further.

Tea Bag with Rituals and Benefits — The thoughtful designed tea bag and tag show its benefits, rituals and simple making process. Inspiring texts on the tea package work as small nudges to bring delight for people.

Sensual Brew Experience with Inspirations — It is time to refresh our body. Sip and feel the tea with five senses and enjoy the moment taking it to relaxation.

Unique Touchpoint of Podcast and Secret Message — Talk&Brew podcast talks about more stories of the tea within the matching timeline of steeping. Once the tea is ready, a tea bag which is used as a coaster will show a secret message printed by special ink appearing when temperature change.

Monthly Talk&Brew Diary for Silver Lining

Monthly Talk&Brew Diary for Silver Lining — Talk&Brew monthly diary is sent to remind people of the silver lining in their mind. Positivity among recent emotions is highlighted with its triggers and further actions to keep it up.

Tea Gift for Others — Tea gift is sent with one’s gratitude through a written message on the back of the tea pack.

Talk&Brew is a specially designed tea service for people to elevate the quality of day by understanding their emotion and encouraging them to build good relationships using the moment of tea break.

We all know stress is about as inevitable as it gets, but the way we handle it is the key.
Stress is a physiological reaction called a flight-or-fight response, which is caused by a harmful event or threat to survival. One of the situations we can imagine is fighting against or running away from a lion attacking in our early days. In these alerting situations, a hormone called cortisol comes out which increases fear in the centre of the brain intensely changing how we behave.

In modern society, stress comes from work, money, relationships, and social insecurities instead of life or death situations. It is easy to downsize modern stress because it does not threaten life immediately. However, the reaction of stress can easily occur communication issues and cause relationship difficulties which might cause a sense of loneliness.

Talk&Brew started in this narrative of stress and loneliness. Services' key values are making tea moments to pause in a busy life. People take a short time of a break to look back, reflect and clarify themselves. Reflection starts and enables us to see where our mind and body are. Quick and effective mood-elevating journey with matching tea and unique brewing experience follows to help people to relax in the present. This ritual of Talk&Brew allows people to capture their emotion and share with others to communicate healthier and build relationships further.

Subscribers get delivered a tea set and receive email to get personalised matched tea and suggestions as reminders of weekly reflection. Not only for individuals but also organisations where emotional labour is easily required can hire Talk&Brew. Its revenue is shared with mental health organisations and people in needs of mental health care for further impacts.

Talk&Brew Website:

Jina Kim - Collaborator:
Jina was an artistic creative teammate during the whole journey of the project. We collaborated over the design thinking process.
Mental Health
Royal College of Art
Registered Office: Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2EU
RCA™ Royal College of Art™ are trademarks of the Royal College of Art