Everybody Bleeds

Everybody Bleeds

Plasters shaped like sanitary pads to get everyone talking about periods.

Product, 2 months

The Challenge

The Problem

A brief written by McKinsey Design, The Case for Her and D&AD: ‘End period stigma’. The campaign had to be global and local.


The Outcome

A gender neutral campaign using plasters to end period poverty.


How it works 

Both sanitary pads and plasters do the same thing: soak up blood. But one is taxed and the other isn’t. It’s one of the many examples of how period stigmas are affecting global wellbeing and body confidence. 

This campaign uses the plaster as a visual metaphor to get those who don’t have periods to better understand the sight and experience of menstruation. 

All profits go towards access to sanitary pads and campaigns to end period tax worldwide. By talking about our plasters online you raise more money for our cause. Whatever you have to say, you’re helping us to face up to period stigma.

Research and development

  • The Insights


    The Insights

    Speaking about periods has become a gendered construct, despite blood itself being gender-neutral

    Conversations about periods with people who don’t have periods usually exclude the actual physical and emotional experience of menstruation. 

    Context

    Two key facts which informed this project:

    1. Most period campaigns target cis-women, and do not generally recognise that not all people who have periods are cis-women. 
    2. Both sanitary pads and plasters do the same thing: soak up blood. But one is taxed and the other isn’t. It’s one of the many examples of how period stigmas are affecting global wellbeing and body confidence.

  • Methodology


    Methodology 

    Interviewed: 6 cis-men (17-29), 2 non-binary people (20s) and 11 cis-women (15-30).
    A mixture of Black-British, White-British, British-Asian and Vietnamese, all able bodied. 70% students. 

    Interviewed people form a range of ages, ethnicities, genders and locations in the UK. I then compared this to a few interviews in Vietnam. My main focus was on cis-men. I found them this an interesting target group because they were the furthest away from the experience of menstruation, yet would all know someone in their lives who would be affected by periods. I also targetted cis-men in their late teens/ early 20s, who were likely to be in more mature relationships with people in their lives who are mensturating. 

    Key research questions for cis-men:

    • Have you ever heard of a period? 
    • When was the first time you heard about periods?
    • What happens during a period? Probe on physical effect, probe on mental effects, probe on type of blood
    • What do you think are some of the challenges for people who have periods? Probe on daily routine, probe on access to products, probe on use of products
    • What ways do you think people can manage their period? 
    • What can you tell me about the types of people who have periods? 
    • How do you think you could support people on their periods?

    Initial prototyping

    Two initial thought processes came out of this research: 

    1. People who don’t have periods don’t know how to show their support for people on their period
    2. Periods seem to come at an inconvenient time for people 

    I first went down the route of time and started developing some watches which were based on streaks of blood made out of resin. The concept was that people who bought the watches supported a period charity, in a similar way to live strong bands, and others would see it as a status symbol. I quickly realised this wasn’t going anywhere, and people didn’t understand the visual metaphor.

    Plasters

    I then started thinking about developing a visual metaphor, and that’s when I got the idea of the plaster. These were initially made of bandage paper and cotton which I tested with my focus groups. I knew I had my eureka moment when my brother came down the stairs, saw what I was doing, laughed, and said ‘I’d actually wear those!’. This sparked a really interesting conversation about how the plasters compared to sanitary pads. 

    Who should have been included in this work, but was not. 

    I did not, and could not, capture everyone’s voices while researching this project. However, there were some groups who I did not actively reach out to, and thus could have been negatively impacted from my work due to blind spots in my work. These were: 

    • Transgendered people 
    • People with disabilities 
    • Very young children 
    • Those who don’t have access to sanitary towels 

    I found that transgender people were especially crucial for this project, and admittedly, at the time of researching this project I didn’t know where to start and how to bring up this conversation with trans people. I had spoken with some non-binary people for the project, who had given me lots of feedback, but felt like in all I was missing a massive angle of the project. I now know that I could have taken the project to grassroots organisations, friends of friends or even online campaigns and paid people for their time. I was very junior as a design researcher and had not properly thought through all these methods. 

  • The outcome

  • Quotes


    “I DIDN’T REALISE THAT PERIOD BLOOD DRIPS OUT GRADUALLY… I ALWAYS IMAGINED IT TO BE A CONSTANT RUSH OF BLOOD”

    — CIS-MALE, 23, LONDON

     

    “MOST PERIOD ADVERTS ARE TARGETTED AT WOMEN. MENSTRUAL STIGMA IS JUST ANOTHER PART OF GENDER IDENTITY WHICH I FIND SO DIFFICULT TO FACE”

    — NON-BINARY PERSON, 16, LONDON

     

    “WHEN I GOT MY FIRST PERIOD I GENUINELY THOUGHT I’D SHAT MYSELF BECAUSE THE BLOOD INSIDE MY KNICKERS WAS BROWN! NO ONE HAD TOLD ME WHAT TO EXPECT VISUALLY”

    — CIS-FEMALE, 30, SAIGON [TRANSLATED]

     

    ‘Amazing’

    • Nick Whiting, Senior Expert, McKinsey & Company

  • Results


    Results 

    • Awarded a Graphite Pencil at D&AD 2019, as well as a place on the D&AD Academy for top junior creatives 
    • Invited to speak at the Design Kids event about how to craft a winning campaign 
    • Invited to speak at D&AD podcast on success 
    • Featured in the Irise International Period Positivity podcast 

  • If I could do this again...


    If I could do this again …

    I don’t believe in a perfect solution. What I can do though, is reflect on where there were gaps in my projects, and how this might have disadvantaged some groups over others . This is a space to reflect on what could have been better. 

    Respectfully reaching out to people in the trans community, and paying them for their time. (see the ‘Who should have been included in this work’ section. 

    Tried to push harder to make this a product in the market. These plasters exist – I made them and they are functioning plasters. But I would love to prototype further, test with people and get this product out in the market. Otherwise, it would risk becoming a concept piece. 

    Be very aware and mindful of the awards judging process I’m not sure how I felt about ‘blind’ judging, because the success of a project will always be affected by the biases of the judging panel. Ultimately, an award isn’t everything. 

  • ITV: On The Mend

    ITV, On The Mend

    Celebrating NHS staff coming together by mending the ITV logo.

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    4 months, 1 day filming, 1 week live on TV

    The Challenge

    The Problem

    Creating a framework for a group of NHS staff to make an ITV ident together and celebrate the contribution of healthcare professionals across the UK.


    The Outcome

    The framework for a workshop where a group of NHS staff was given broken sections of the ITV logo and had to mend the logo by using a craft related to their profession. A surgeon, for example, glued and stitched pieces back together with filler and thread. The participants constructed the logo live in front of cameras, in order to create the ident. The piece emphasised the journey of the shapes from broken pieces into a ‘fixed’ whole and celebrated the important role that creativity plays in supporting our health and wellbeing.


    On The Mend & NHS Staff – ITV Creates


    Research and development

  • Context and restrictions


    • Must be made and filmed entirely in one day
    • Must allow for different levels of participation
    • Must look good as an ident and as a finished ITV logo
    • Must have a cohesive theme that will work well visually but also have room for surprise

  • Our methodology


    Concept Development

    When approached by ITV and Imperial Health Charity, our only guidance was creating an ITV ident collaboratively with a group of NHS staff, which celebrated Britain coming together. We spent lots of time brainstorming what that meant to us and how it could be visualised. We wanted to highlight the NHS coming together but also the importance of making something fun. After pitching to Imperial Health Charity and ITV Studio different concepts, we decided to work with a cut-out ITV logo that would be mended using different foam shapes.

    Product design

    The main part of the project was spent on designing and producing the pieces used for the workshop. We designed everything ourselves and got the different foam shapes cut from a local mattress company and the ITV cut-out in plywood from a local laser-cutting studio. We created shapes that evoked body shapes and organs but still looked playful and organic. We then tested various materials and ways of mending things together such as stitching, taping, gluing, paining, etc. in order to give the NHS staff different ways to express their creativity through mending.

     

    Delivery

    The workshop was facilitated entirely by us and filmed by the ITV film crew. We gave simple instructions to the NHS staff and showed them how the materials and tools could be used and played around with but then erased ourselves from the process as much as possible. This allowed them to have full autonomy on what the finished product would look like and give them the confidence to show and use their own creativity.

  • The Impact


    Quotes

    “I think it’s incredible to see how good we were working together.”

    — Workshop Participant

    “It’s really nice to be working with colleagues whom I don’t normally see.”

    — Workshop Participant, ___ (Orthopedic Surgeon)

    “It’s just a release really. It’s been a really positive experience.”

    — Workshop Participant, Carol (Dementia Care Nurse)

    “I probably haven’t done something this therapeutic in a long long time.”

    — Workshop Participant, Harvey (Child Physiotherapist)

    “We’ve produced something fantastic and that’s pretty much what we do everyday in the NHS.”

    — Workshop Participant

    “We were delighted to work with On The Mend and our NHS colleagues to bring this fantastic interpretation of the logo to life. The finished artwork beautifully represents the invaluable role of the NHS in looking after the nation’s health.”

    — Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Health Charity

    The Insights

    That design and making really can bring people together and that creativity plays such an important role in supporting our health and wellbeing.

    Results

    • Working relationship with Imperial Health Charity
    • Exposure through ITV channel, the third most popular TV channel in the UK with more than 5 million viewers weekly

  • If we could do this again...


    We are honest about our successes and our failures. We know that we can never fix every single problem with a single interaction. Below are some of our key reflections, and things we would change if we could repeat this work: 

     

    Sustainability

    Let’s be honest, the materials we used for this ident were not sustainable and were only used for a one time event. It would have been great if we could have spent more time looking for more sustainable materials or reusing old materials other companies were not using. Ideally we would have also liked to give the final piece a second life and install it somewhere so it didn’t go to waste straight away.

     

    Feedback from all workshop participants

    It would have been really useful to send out an anonymous survey to all NHS staff who participated to understand a bit more about which aspects of the workshop they enjoyed and which we could have improved.

  • People and press

  • The Team


    Workshop development and facilitation – Sophia Luu and Mathilda Della Torre

    Charity partner – Imperial Health Charity (Lucy and Kate)

    Workshop participants –  Harvey, Carol, Lily

    Film crew – ITV Studios

    Generously supported by ITV Studios.

    Toggle Content

  • Two friends talk about Race

    Two friends talk about Race

    For people who want to talk about race but don’t know where to start

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    People

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    Special Episodes

    We teamed up with the wonderful HORRID Covid Zine to deliver a special episode on race, healthcare and COVID-19. It takes a slightly more educational approach than our usual style.

    Operation Game

    Operation Game

    A life-sized game of operation to educate people about women’s health

    Product, 2 months

    The Challenge

    The Problem

    Find a way for audience members to engage with a tired museum collection while having one key takeaway about healthcare.


    The Outcome

    A giant, life-size version of the classic “Operation” board game which featured a Desi woman as the patient. Further interaction revealed information about the ways in which blood donations from Black and Brown women played a special role in women’s health.


    Research and development

  • Context


    The Emerge Festival aims to bring galleries and museums to more diverse audiences, especially younger people who would never usually walk through their doors. They do this by hosting an annual weekend take-over of as many museums and galleries in London as possible. Each venue hosts a specific interactive event.

    This meant that our event had to be:

    • Drop in to account for open-access tickets
    • Be completed in under 10 minutes
    • Be accessible to a wide range of people
    • Cannot contain any messy materials which would damage the hospital’s permanent collection
    • Target 16-24 year olds

    The old operating theatre itself is Europe’s oldest surviving medical theatre, was the perfect setting for this project as it only operated on female patients in the 1830s. We definitely wanted to find a way to incorporate this into our project.

  • Our Methodology


    Multiple visits to the collection

    …to interview visitors, collection managers and observe people. It was clear that female bodies was a huge focus for the collection, and we thought this was a unique pull from the venue which we wanted to highlight during the festival.

    Linking the museum collection to women’s health

    We read lots of books, articles and sites in order to link some of the key aspects of the collection to the project. One thing which linked all the operations to every single person was blood. Blood is used in a lot of transfusions for operations, and had a lot of complex health implications.

    Initial research from NHS Blood and Transport, who manage all public donations of blood in the UK, stated that:

    • 67% was used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders, such as sickle cell.
    • 27% was used in surgery, including cardiac surgery and emergency surgery
    • 6% was used to treat blood loss after childbirth

    We wanted to focus on these facts and tailor them to women of colour.

    Collaborating with experienced 3D makers

    To produce a prototype from fully recycled materials. We had a very low cost budget, and wanted to ensure we made the most of it as possible, by collaborating with makers who had true upcycling expertise. This also allowed us to reach a wider audience by interviewing them about their knowledge of women’s health and experience in museums. We also got really inventive with copper tape, and old suitcase and some acrylic offcuts to make the core game components.

    Bold illustrations with a human focus.

    One thing missing from a lot of medical diagrams was a person’s agency. We wanted to bring that back as the main focus of the work. For this, we used a cross section of a person’s body, while also showing their face, hair, piercings, and things which make them an individual.

  • The Impact


    Quotes

    “It’s astonishing to see how much donated blood goes to blood loss after childbirth – it’s literally saving two lives at once!”

    VICTORIA AND ORI, 21

    “Can we keep it?”

    MONICA, EVENTS MANAGER, OLD OPERATING THEATRE

    “Oh, this reminds me – I was going to register to give blood the other day but I forgot. Thanks for reminding me, this was so fun!”

    RITA, 26

    The insights

    Many diversity and inclusion projects focus on celebrating external differences in people’s bodies, but rarely do we focus on the things we don’t see, like the clinical impacts of health and wellbeing. Taking a game which had a glossy and different exterior acted as a good pull for exploring internal health themes.

    The Results

    • 2 women signing up to donate blood on the spot – with the potential to help 18 adults each year
    • A reusable operation game in the museum’s permanent collection which is used for children’s visits

  • If we could do it again...


    At On the Mend, we are honest about our successes and our failures. We know that we can never fix every single problem with a single interaction. Below are some of our key reflections, and things we would change if we could repeat this work:

    Manage queues! – Many other venues were fully booked nearby, meaning that floods of crowds were heading to a venue which had a 30 person limit. A lot of the time, people had arrived at the venue to discover that they had queued up for a 10 minute activity. We should have accounted for this and provided a way to manage queues.

    Include a QR code or some means to make signing up for blood donations quicker and easier. Lots of people asked about signing up but would be dissuaded from having to search about blood donations on their phones. We should have had some physical and digital material at hand to help with this.

    Highlight the underlying concept when introducing the game Our event was a pop up straight after the live operation demonstration. In the introductory speech, we should have made clear that we were focusing on highlighting what happens to blood donations and how important the role of women of colour was. This might have grabbed the attention of those more interested in healthcare equality, but less interested in a game.

    Include two facilitators! This event was facilitated by one person, meaning that a lot of the time Sophia had to speak to people about health awareness while also managing the mechanics of the game and making sure no one was accidentally damaging the venue! It was a lot for one person to handle and meant that we couldn’t focus as much on the quality of the health information conveyed.

  • People and press

  • The Team


    Illustration: Sophia Luu

    Visual Concepts and Storyboarding: Mathilda Della Torre

    Electronics: Minh Huynh

    Woodwork: Minh Huynh and Sophia Luu

    Research and Marketing: Rashmi Shankar

    Photography: Michael Tigchelaar

    Partners: Emerge Festival and the Old Operating Theatre. Special thanks to Svetlana and Monica.

    Special Thanks to Josie at Machines Room and Peter from Solowood Recylcing for helping us sourcing materials and prop space!