The term ‘life hack’ has become a shorthand for the ingenious shortcuts that people find for the most random activities, which they will then share via videos across social media. Yet for the blind and partially sighted, hacks such as these are essential for easy living.
London-based agency The&Partnership decided to tap into this creativity for its campaign with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and put these innovative problem-solvers in the spotlight. These unsung designers create workarounds to make everyday tasks easier and to help retain their independence. For the project, The&Partnership decided to rebrand these hacks as a series of design products to reflect their alternative use and spread the word.
Suddenly a sock and rubber band became a ‘small item finder’ (with the help of a vacuum); an afro comb evolved into a ‘veggie slicer’; and a hairclip was reborn as a ‘shoe organiser’. The product range turned the concept of design on its head, with the user becoming the designer through need, and also celebrated RNIB’s mission of challenging misconceptions surrounding those living with sight loss.
The project really took off when London’s Design Museum agreed to stock the products, displaying them in its shop and online store, and giving them a design-world seal of approval. Under the name See Differently, the product launch coincided with the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2019. Not only did it highlight and legitimise the inventiveness of the sight-loss community, it also helped raise much-needed funds for RNIB.
With every project comes a unique set of challenges, and for The&Partnership this meant stepping into the new and daunting territory of getting products ready to be sold in retail. From picking supply partners and managing supply chains, to sourcing the correct recycling information for the packaging and writing lots of point-of-sale and product copy, the task was huge.
Since the launch, reaction to the project has been overwhelmingly positive. People not only engaged with the products, but, more importantly, with the meaning behind them. The&Partnership hopes the project has encouraged people to question their preconceptions of the sight-loss community and celebrate them for the group of brilliant problem-solvers they are.
Client: Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Head of Brand and Marketing: Martin Wingfield
Senior Marketing Manager: Lorna Forbes
Marketing Officer: Malcolm Wai
Creative Agency: The&Partnership
ECDs: Yan Elliott, Micky Tudor
Head of Art: Marc Donaldson
Creative Director: Angus Vine
Creatives: Helen Rogerson, Artem Bjork
Creative Producer: Joseph Tomlinson
Business Director: Benedict Pringle
Account Director: Stephanie Nicolaides
Account Manager: Ciara Burke
Account Executive: Freddie Chambers
Strategy Director: Claire Carmichael
Design: Rich Forder
Retoucher: Louise Adams
Studio Manager: Graham Norris