https://design102.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/26/designing-sensitively-for-stillbirths-consultation/

Designing sensitively: how we presented the MoJ stillbirths consultation

Image featuring the words 'Take part in the consultation' in white against a pale green background, above a graphic of an origami bird surrounded by clouds

Thoughtful design is always essential, but never more so than when dealing with a sensitive topic.

Stillbirth is a personal, painful experience that occurs in 1 in every 200 births in the UK. The government is working to understand and prevent stillbirths, and improve maternal care in the future.

The brief

Ministry of Justice asked us to create a suite of animations calling for responses to a new government consultation on the laws around coroners investigating stillbirths.

The campaign’s objective was to invite responses to the consultation from people with experience of the issue: charities, medical staff and parents who may have experienced this type of bereavement.

The animations had to be gentle enough to encourage responses to a distressing topic.

Two images side by side, both features the words 'Have your say' in white, one against a pale purple background above a graphic of an origami bird surrounded by clouds, the other against a pale green background above a graphic of a rose flower

As most of MoJ’s conversations take place on Twitter and Instagram, the animations were designed for these platforms, meaning we had just a few seconds to draw audiences in.

They were also supplied to stakeholders, such as charities and parent bloggers, who shared them on Instagram.

What we did

Due to time and budget constraints, we filmed using an iPhone with natural light. We wanted to evoke sensitivity and care, so decided on a hand-created element to form the core of the video: origami. Each animation features an origami shape from the natural world – a rose and a dove – placed gently on a grey background.

The folded origami also shares a visual language with MoJ’s triangular branding, which appears across their entire identity including social media.

The video blooms with colour, replacing the monochrome opening frames. Animated line-drawn elements unfurl on the video to create a serene picture. These simple techniques give the video a calming feel, while making the most of both the small budget and short video length.

The video’s simplicity meant we were easily able to update text to reflect last-minute policy changes.

The results

The original tweet received over 2,900 engagements and content was shared by government departments including Number 10. Within two days of launching the consultation, around 100 responses were submitted – far higher than MoJ’s usual response rate. This is part of the next step forward in improving maternal care in the UK.

 

If you’d like to know more about the animations, or you’ve got a project we can help with, just drop us a line at hello@design102.co.uk

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