In discussions and research, it became apparent pretty quickly that the condition is widely misunderstood. Most people don’t understand what it is, or what it does, until someone close to them is affected by it. They soon discover it’s a life-shortening genetic condition – only half live to celebrate their fortieth birthday.
The faulty gene is carried by over two million people in the UK, most of whom have no idea. If two carriers have children, there’s a one in four chance their child will have it, which slowly destroys the lungs and digestive system. It kills thousands worldwide and is carried unknowingly in the genes of millions. It’s often invisible to the naked eye yet destroys lives, stopping them short, inflicting hardship and distress on those affected, their families and carers.
We discovered that supporters of the charity feel the general awareness and understanding of cystic fibrosis among the general public is very low. People aren’t clear what cystic fibrosis is or does, how they can or can’t catch it and what it means on a day-to-day basis.
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust was also grappling with an outdated and cumbersome house-style, shown above.
As the research stage progressed, we kept asking, ‘but, what is it, exactly?’ and received a multitude of different responses. Mid-way through the research stage we had a breakthrough when we noticed the ‘is’ at the end of ‘fibrosis’.
We suggested the charity should activate the ‘is’ in their name with a series of statements, effectively forcing it to always explain what it is, does, and why they are here.
Some are simple: ‘cystic fibrosis why we’re here’, some uplifting – ‘cystic fibrosis a battle we must win’, some hard-hitting – ‘cystic fibrosis a life sentence’.
The Trust now has at least 40 sentences they can use, and we’re adding to them continually.
Like many charities they are short of funds and can’t afford big marketing campaigns, so this effectively makes everything they do part of one big ‘is’ campaign.
A new set of images has been either shot or sourced, and we have created their own hand-writing font that is used throughout all elements to keep the design scheme friendly and informal.
The cystic fibrosis community is very active on behalf of the charity so several of the applications allow event posters and leaflets to be overwritten by hand.
We have retained one of their previous colours, yellow, but made it warmer and then the linking colour throughout the work. It even gently graduates up from the base of some photos – hinting at the presence of cystic fibrosis without actually showing or saying it.
In some circumstances, the messages will be quite hard-hitting, as shown above, but without being offensive to the cystic fibrosis community.
Above is an animated film that has been prepared for launch which simply asks those with the condition and employees of the trust what it ‘is’ for them. Below are grabs from the new site and facebook pages.
For a small charity with no significant advertising spend, this represents a major step-change in activity in their pursuit of greater awareness. Let’s hope it will also attract greater donations: we’ll update when we have some news.