The Spinoff
Spinoff / WHO collaboration

  • 2020

    Submission # 98

  • Output

    Publication – Pukapuka

  • Kaupapa

    Impact – Social Good

    Impact – Reach / Results / ROI

  • Location

    Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau

Project Overview:
During the early stages of the pandemic, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, an acclaimed science communicator, collaborated with comic artist Toby Morris to publish a series of short, effective and extremely shareable graphics around COVID-19.

The success of these communication pieces led to the World Health Organization contracting The Spinoff to produce similar graphics for an international audience, an arrangement that is still ongoing. We have produced dozens of graphics for WHO on topics like mask guidance, distancing, PPE distribution and vaccinations, which have been viewed on Facebook over hundreds of millions of times. The Spinoff has become a key communication partner in WHO’s emergency response to the pandemic, and work we created was featured prominently at both the World Health Assembly and the UN General Assembly, and is now being rolled out by Facebook Health to help combat vaccine hesitancy.

Throughout the various stages of the pandemic, our campaigns have been deployed by WHO to help increase public engagement and understanding on a range of subjects, such as mask wearing or what social distancing means in practice. We have turned lengthy and often complex technical guidance into simple, shareable and very popular animations, which have all been viewed millions of times around the world.

As COVID-19 vaccinations have begun on a global scale, The Spinoff has been working with the WHO to communicate information around the vaccine in the form of written explainers supported by graphics and animations.

The WHO chose to partner with The Spinoff as they recognised the skill in taking complicated information and presenting it in a digestible way using illustration and often using metaphors. The intention of the work was to communicate the importance of following hygiene and behavioural guidelines that was being issued by governments globally, including social distancing and mask wearing. The work shows the impact individuals can have on stopping the spread of COVID-19 by following the rules.

The creation of content around the COVID-19 vaccine is intended to reassure people about the safety of the vaccine, inform them of the development process and ultimately, encourage vaccine uptake globally.

Other graphics were created to demonstrate the role WHO is playing globally in the pandemic, and to reinforce them as a trusted source of information.

Clarity and approachability have been the guiding philosophies between our work for WHO. In the middle of a sea of confusing and often contrasting information, the WHO needs to speak clearly, calmly and with authority, but at the same time be human and approachable.

This focus on simplicity and clarity informed the design approach. Illustration was used for its ability to communicate information clearly in an appealing way, and the approach to the illustration has been to simplify character designs/backgrounds/colours in a way that eliminates any surplus information and hones in on the point that needs to be made.

The global nature of the client, and the complexity and importance of the messages to communicate created a unique design challenge. Messages need to be clear and feel relatable and understandable from whatever country in the world the viewer might be accessing it from, meaning creative solutions needed to be found to character designs and the design of visual environments, costumes and cultural references.

Archiver’s Response:

"The Spinoff achieved to turn a stressful amount of critical information into an easy to digest set of illustrations. It humanizes a worldwide daunting subject while being mindful of accuracy and inclusive in its depiction."

"An easily accessible campaign with an idea and execution that is quintessentially Kiwi. Looks deceptively simple, naive even, but each cartoon is highly nuanced and thorough."

Credits & Collaborators:
Creative Director - Toby Morris
Illustrator - Ezra Whittaker, Toby Morris
Account manager - Jess Milne, Kristen Morris, Sepi Sedaghi, Lee Lowndes, Claire Choe

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