The information blanket
New York ad agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay has recently invested its creative and financial resources into creating something to help cut infant mortality in Uganda.
There were two simple premises underlying the project: every baby needs a blanket, and every parent needs basic information on how to care for their newborn child. The agency came up with an “information blanket” to deal with both needs.
“The blanket was born out of [taking part in] a briefing for the Future of Health project for Unicef,” says Neil Powell, creative partner at Beattie McGuinness Bungay. “It had to be easy to make and distribute, not require a new technology and be something every baby or parent needed.”
The blankets bear information written in Luganda, the most commonly spoken language in Uganda. As the illiteracy rate among young women there is one of the highest in the world, the blanket also carries the same information in the form of easily deciphered graphics.
Neil says the project has given him more than a sense of creative fulfilment. “Most designers I know look for opportunities to [use] their talents for social good or change. In my case, while I’ve done pro-bono work on and off over the years, I never thought I’d work on something that could potentially save a human life.”
The blankets are made in the US for now, though in the longer term production may move to Uganda. You can donate one of the blankets to a Ugandan mother for $25 (around £16) at theinformationblanket.org.
Beattie McGuinness Bungay’s information blanket blends information design with practicality. It will help mothers in Uganda, many of whom cannot read, ensure their babies are properly cared for