RNIB: Design For Everyone campaign

This campaign, created by The&Partnership, aims to highlight the challenges blind and partially sighted women face using pregnancy tests, and why a more universal design is required. Words: Emma Tucker

In 2018, while working on a rebrand for sight loss charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), The&Partnership creative Helen Rogerson stumbled across a startling fact. There, buried in an off-hand comment in a parenting blog, she discovered that blind women still need assistance to read a pregnancy test. “It’s something so personal and intrinsically linked to you,” says Rogerson. “I couldn’t believe that you’d have to go, ‘Sorry mate, can you read this for me?’” 

“It got us in the throat, really,” adds joint ECD Yan Elliott. “Something you take for granted as a private moment becoming so public.”

The&Partnership creative team immediately set about finding a solution but knew that an awareness campaign on its own wouldn’t do enough to resolve the problem. “We realised from doing our work with RNIB that there’s an attitude sometimes of, ‘that’s sad’, or ‘that’s a shame’,” says Rogerson. “The onus gets put on blind people, when actually the problem is that the world hasn’t been designed for people with sight loss. And if we changed the way we designed the world, it could be inclusive for everyone.”

The team started doing research into how pregnancy tests work, with the aim of creating b a prototype that could be accessible for everyone and not rely on sight alone. The&Partnership’s resulting pregnancy test – which is an open-source design – features a tactile pad that indicates the result with raised nodules, and also uses brighter colours to help people with partial vision navigate the test.

Rogerson says that creating the prototype was key to jolting people out of sympathy and into action, by emphasising that it’s a problem that has a solution. “By creating a prototype, we’re saying that it doesn’t have to be this way, and asking people to get angry, share it, and make noise until people working at places like Clearblue can’t ignore it,” she explains. 

The campaign’s digital, out of home and print ads were another pivotal part of the effort. They express the same private versus public struggle that people with sight loss face when taking a pregnancy test, and feature bald statements such as ‘Patti is having sex again’ and ‘Sam’s period is late’. 

Rogerson emphasises that it was essential the campaign wasn’t just about motherhood but about the issues of privacy that people with sight loss face. “We wanted people to feel uncomfortable when they saw them,” she explains. With limited media spend, the ads were placed at train stations in media, PR and design hubs – to encourage people to advocate for the issue – as well as in toilet cubicles. “We made it public, in an intimate space,” she notes.

Since Design for Everyone’s launch, Clearblue has acknowledged the issue, spoken with The&Partnership, and plans to work together with RNIB to look at how its products could potentially be adapted. “One of the massive things we’ve done is put it on their radar, and now it’s part of their agenda,” says Elliott, who emphasises that the agency is pushing for actual change, not just acknowledgement. 

“We won’t be happy waiting a few years until they can fit it into a production line. It needs to happen sooner rather than later. Luckily, the world has changed a lot over the past few years … and companies know that the only way forward is to be progressive and inclusive.” 

Categories: Integrated; Entered by: The&Partnership London

Client: RNIB
Head of Brand & Marketing: Martin Wingfield
Head of Integrated Marketing: Lorna Forbes
Head of External Communications: James Simpson
Agency: The&Partnership London
ECDs: Yan Elliott, Micky Tudor
Creative Director: Angus Vine
Creatives: Angus Vine, Helen Rogerson
Creative Production: Joseph Tomlinson
Account Team: Benedict Pringle, Stephanie Nicolaides, Sarah Firmston-Williams, Freddie Chambers
Strategic Team: Katherine O’Gorman, Claire Carmichael, Ed Davenhill
Product Designer: Josh Wasserman
Design Team: Marc Donaldson, Loty Ray, Rich Forder, Stuart Foy, Sean McCarthy
Production: Alumina Studios
Director/Editor: Oliver Briginshaw
Head of Post Production: David Thomas
Post Producer: Roberta Fox
Live Action Producer: Richard Grisman
Audio/Grade: Big Bouy
Music: Odyssey Audio
Composer: Markus Ffitch
PR Consultants: Halpern
Research: CSR International