Saving lives with graphic design

Posted by:
Caroline Morley

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Whether it’s helping patients navigate hospital corridors or trying to influence the public to adopt certain behaviours, graphic designers have a key role in shaping our lives and wellbeing.

I recently visited The Wellcome Collection‘s current temporary exhibition – “Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?”. It explores the role of visual communication in our health services.

Anti-smoking campaign poster from India in 1972 by Biman Mullick, Cleanair

Anti-smoking campaign poster from India in 1972 by Biman Mullick, Cleanair

The exhibition includes medicine packaging, medical textbooks, posters, animations and hospital signage amongst others, shining a light on just how many talented artists and designers have applied their skills to the challenges in this area.

I loved the use of textures and colours to decorate a children’s hospital in Japan. But I was most struck by the very stark and striking graphics and ideas often used in public health campaigns such as the iconic  “Don’t Die Of Ignorance” tombstone advert used in the world’s first Aids awareness campaign in the UK in the 1980s.

There are so many examples of graphic design saving lives. Do you have any favourite public health campaign designs?

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Graphic design

One response to “Saving lives with graphic design”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I always remember the adverts on railway safety – they scared the bejeebies out of me!

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