Can graphic design save your life?

Nov 2017 · Healthcare

Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? explores the significant relationship between graphic design and health. With seasoned experience working in healthcare, across both public and private sectors, we were excited to see what other designers had created over the decades and how their work had influenced our lives.

Penn Glendinning: Creative Director

The work of the Hara Design Institute on the design of the hospital wayfinding was inspiring. Everything was soft and clean to reinforce the picture of an ‘ideal’ hospital — washable cotton sign covers, rounded wooden plinths and sign stands, etc. The various destinations were also indicated using arrows with varying tail lengths to convey the distance to that destination.

The Teva brand and packaging guidelines made great use of abstract shapes and colours to communicate, at a glance, which medicines were contained in the pack. Made for beautiful, functional design.

Phil Reid: Founder, Strategic Director

I found the exhibition really well curated with inspiring designs and approaches showcased from across the decades. Work from the 1950s/60s really stood out for me including examples by designers such as Erwin Pœll with his n+m medical journal covers: punchy, eye-catching and abstract. The Swiss pharmaceutical company JR Geigy AG and Karl Gerstner produced an ‘International style’ within their corporate literature that was revered, whilst Fred Troller’s work for Geigy Persantin was simple and yet incredibly iconic.

David Fleming : Graphic Designer

It was really inspiring and good to see the value of functional graphic design within healthcare, and the importance of it in the industry where it really does make a difference. The power of non-verbal communication (saving lives in Africa with the leprosy leaflet), using isotype (International System Of Typographic Picture Education) as a means to communicate to people who may be illiterate or when there are many different local written languages was very interesting.

David Fleming : Graphic Designer

It was really inspiring and good to see the value of functional graphic design within healthcare, and the importance of it in the industry where it really does make a difference. The power of non-verbal communication (saving lives in Africa with the leprosy leaflet), using isotype (International System Of Typographic Picture Education) as a means to communicate to people who may be illiterate or when there are many different local written languages was very interesting.

Jono Goldsack: Web Developer

I really liked The Samaritans campaign, really good use of type and colour. Really made me stop and read it again and again — very simple but full of impact.

There was a piece on a guy that struggled to explain his pain to a doctor, which I’ve really struggled with in the past myself. He managed to find a way to visualise it using different colours. Really interesting how just looking at it I could tell which parts were more painful than others and could almost feel what he was trying to describe.

Emma Marks: Studio Manager

I found the exhibition really interesting and incredibly relevant to our everyday lives. So much of the graphic design within the exhibition is part of our daily visual language; the markings on an ambulances, signage in hospitals, medicine packaging it’s really enlightening to see the history and thinking behind it.

Summary

The exhibition encouraged us to take a fresh look at our work within healthcare. User guides that we’ve created for nurses, websites we’ve built for healthcare companies all came back under discussion. We reviewed the methods and visual language that we were using to inform and educate with our work. The exhibition has encouraged us to test and question our designs further to really distill them into their simplest parts. The future words, images, signs, symbols, colour and scale produced by us at Studiomade will all carry the thinking of this exhibition behind them.

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