Project Question

“How can graphic design be utilised to help improve the lives of individuals suffering from IBD related chronic illness?”


The problem:

Supporting positive mental wellbeing of those suffering from fatigue caused by a flare of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).
Raising awareness of IBD and the more mentally challenging symptoms that come with it such as fatigue.

I am a website designer, freelance graphic designer and student finalising my MA Graphic Design course.

I am also someone who is diagnosed with Pan-Colitis, visceral hypersensitivity, anaemia, & chronic pain.

As a believer of the power of colour and creativity, I wanted to create a project that allows people to harness these tools for self-care and positive mental health.

If these unprecedented times have shown us anything, it’s the isolation that chronic illness patient deals with. As well as the community we can create in a digital age. I want to encourage a creative space for patients to both feel togetherness and educate people along the way.

The solution:

Producing a platform that creates a community inspiring the use of creativity as a self-help tool to improve the mental wellbeing of those suffering from symptoms of fatigue during a flare of IBD that also is used to raise awareness of the disease. By focusing on three key areas we can successfully do this.

positivity | activity | creativity

“Some experts equate the benefits of crafting-induced flow with the experience of meditation. It’s like a kind of “mental exercise” that helps regulate your attention and emotions. [Creativity] can put you into a physical state of deep relaxation that alters your physical and emotional responses to stress.” Colette DeDonato.

Using creativity as a tool to inspire, encourage and motivate those that are struggling with their mental health during this time, I directly answered the question by designing a final outcome of a mobile application.

The application was broken down by the three pillars:

positivity – this is the home feed, where you can share your projects and explore others as well as discuss common topics with the community.

activity – Every month the theme will be updated to allow the chance to explore a new creative field and try something you may not have before. Here you can look for weekly or monthly creative tasks, or make your own.

creativity – The creativity section allows you to take part in bright workshops. Whether these are short recaps of past workshops or summaries to future live workshops that you can book into.

profile – The profile works similarly to most social media platforms. Allowing you to see your profile from another users point of view.

journal – This section works as a private entry system to allow users to track their symptoms during a flare of their illness. The history tool is particularly useful as you can look back over days and weeks to report back to consultants or doctors.

I am keen to continue this project. To gather patients feedback, I am running creative workshops with a local charity that is interested in taking part is Rushmoor Healthy Living. They are a wonderful charity in my local area that focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of those suffering from long term conditions and disabilities. Although they are not IBD patients, they all understand the struggle of fatigue. With my first session being booked for January 2021 with their coffee morning participants of around 15 people.

This session will be my first test of many on the live workshops, which allow me to see what does and doesn’t work. Helping me to develop this project to better help solve my chosen problem.

How has your practice developed while studying the MA in Graphic Design with a global cohort?

It has been a pleasure to work alongside growing designers from around the world. I even got the opportunity to collaborate with some of them in this digital space. Online learning is becoming much more favourable, but I never thought it would be as successful as this for a creative course. As someone who prefers analogue graphic design, I was scared my love for paper and hand-drawn illustrations would be lost. I was proven wrong early on. If anything, my skills in these areas have developed over my time on the course.

The course has allowed me to develop the skills that I am most passionate about at my own pace, at a time that suits me. All with the guidance of our online tutors and feedback from my cohort.