The Digital Fairy has created a visual identity for new campaign #FreePeriodStories, which aims to end the shame around menstruation by encouraging people to share their funny and embarrassing period stories on social media. The idea was masterminded by Free Periods, a campaigning organisation run by 19-year old student Amika George, which earlier this year convinced the UK government to commit to funding free menstrual products in all English schools and colleges from early 2020.
#FreePeriodStories is part of an ambition to widen the scope of Free Periods beyond the UK and specific legislation here, and instead affect cultural change around the issue. One in five girls are bullied just because of their period.
For the campaign’s identity London-based studio The Digital Fairy was keen to “disrupt the visual landscape of periods” just as the campaign was due to disrupt the wider conversation. “Media representation of periods is twee and outdated,” says The Digital Fairy’s Eve Lee. “It’s ads showing blue liquid poured onto super-absorbent sanitary pads. It’s pale, ‘discreet’ packaging so that nobody has to know it’s your time of the month. Even within the growing period positivity movement on Instagram (with its glittery period art and elaborate illustrations) we felt let down by a visual version of respectability politics: locked back into a situation where the wider world was only prepared to accept women’s bodily functions when they are presented in a pleasant way.”
The identity features abstract, colourful shapes, reproductive organs and period blood, which overlap and bleed into each other, representing the “the interconnected systems of a period cycle.” Lee says, “Their asymmetrical composition and irregular shapes convey the variety of the period experience: the rich, fully saturated heavy flow, the yellow drip of cervical mucus whilst ovulating, the jagged and painful edges of an endometriosis sufferer, the uncertain spotting of an in-between bleed, and the negative space of a missed or absent period.”
The campaign’s logo has been made up of a speech bubble formed from a tampon and animations have been inspired by euphemistic terms such as ‘on the dot’ and ‘the blob’. Lee adds, “This translated into a gloopy graphic treatment with menstrual textures dripping, dribbling and drooping down the screen. Holistic animations that looped endlessly, breaking apart and reforming, recreated the idea of the menstrual ‘cycle’.”
The colour palette was chosen to be “truly representative of the period experience” while, the typeface – Adieu by Good Type Foundry – is a “chunky, physical typeface that worked well to echo the shapes of the body”.
#FreePeriodStories runs on Twitter and Instagram until 13 October.