Think about the last time you went to the doctor. Now, picture the brochures and flyers you saw sprinkled throughout the office. Not to generalize, but I'm sure they were a little stale and likely designed when folks were still freaking over Y2K, whatever that is.
Hamda Al Naimi is a multidisciplinary designer who turned a personal health problem into SOF (Sisters Overpowering Fibroids) that sparked positivity for herself and others. From the bright colors to the funky characteristics featured in SOF's identity system, Hamda has completely shifted how we should be thinking about strategies in the medical world.
SOF (Sisters Overpowering Fibroids) is a personal and concept project inspired by the designer's journey with uterine fibroids, the frustration of being handed the same generalized brochure after a doctor's visit, meeting women in similar positions who have waited too long to get treated. While not dangerous, ignoring the symptoms can lead to complications. From a design perspective, how can design provide possible solutions? They could involve creating a sense of urgency, giving patients enough personalized information and a support system.
SOF is a project that won Third place, Concept in PRINT Awards 2020 and was born during my post-op recovery from a uterine fibroids myomectomy, thinking of the experience and conceptualizing an idea.
I read stories of people with uterine fibroids and talked to some to better understand treatments' delay. Why are people not taking action? What's stopping them? are the medical terms complex? Are the doctors not communicating enough? Soon, I recognized the importance of providing the right tools to patients and doctors that can be used before, during, and after a doctor's visit. It was clear that many did not see the urgency, were too scared or did not understand it.
Soon, I envisioned possibilities and ways graphic design could help bridge this gap. Based entirely on a concept being visualized in a designer's mind and does not exist in the real world, I could stretch the margin of rigidity and rules and picture a solution that could one day live in the real world.
Therefore, to translate the core of the brand identity, it was essential to use a simple name that embodies strength and support; the name SOF came to me. It is an acronym for Sisters Overpowering Fibroids. SOF's main goal is to encourage and empower patients to be in charge of their health through multiple design deliverables. Such as: 1) Designing posters to convey a sense of urgency 2)A booklet designed as an assessment tool during doctor visits. The patient and physician will work together to find the most suitable pathway customized to the patient's needs, from treatments, surgery details to reviewing different opinions and more and 3) An online platform to provide a sense of a supportive online community where patients can interact.
Therefore, the brand must always stay true to the topic; its design conveys urgency, strength, and compassion. SOF is a brand identity for a community that enhances and expands the experience of people diagnosed with uterine fibroids by identifying common problems that lead patients to ignore their symptoms until complications occur.
But to translate that and come up with solutions, it was necessary to identify the problems first. The issues were 1) The medical brochure: patients are given generalized handouts about fibroids after a visit that are not always relevant to their symptoms. Moreover, these brochures look and feel like any other medical brochures. 2) No sense of urgency is given when the fibroids are small, so most people tend to ignore them until complications occur. Some may opt-out of treatment, especially if surgery is needed because other things in life seem more important. 3) Lacking a supportive community.
The possible solutions are creating: 1) A cohesive branding different from the usual medical visuals. 2) A customized booklet instead of a brochure tailored to be used during doctor's visits can be reviewed at home or anywhere the patient chooses. 3) Posters with bold typography to encourage people with uterine fibroids to take action. 4) A website including a message forum to create a safe sharing space, and get a copy of the booklet, registered physicians, as well as fun merchandise to promote togetherness and empowerment.
Designed by Hamda Al Naimi