Bachelor Thesis 2017
The brief was to create an organization and a commercial product that contributes to one of UN's 17 sustainability goals.
Hundred thousands of young individuals are daily and chronically suffering from illnesses and disabilities that are invisible. These invisible illnesses can be both physical and mental. Illnesses based on a chemical imbalance in the brain, inflammatory bowel diseases, or chronic pain, to name a few. These illnesses are not only invisible in the sense that you can’t physically see them. They are also invisible in society, in conversation, in information. This leads to invisible ill people being constantly questioned, belittled and discredited in everything from healthcare to close relationships.
And that’s the reason why I created the organization S/OS.
S/OS uses visual communication to inform and to make invisible illness visible in society and in daily life. S/OS is short for Synlig/Osynlig which is Swedish for Visible/Invisible. SOS is the international visible distress signal and Morse code for emergency. And S/OS as an organization is the emergency call from all who are not represented culturally, socially, in society or in conversation. It’s an emergency call for all the young individuals who feel invisible in their illness or disability.
If you want to support me in making this project reality -
please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
S/OS sells pins. Pins based on the simple symbolism of the open and the closed eye. The closed eye symbolizes the invisible illness and can be worn by people with invisible illnesses who wish to make their illness visible.
The open eye is a symbol for seeing, and by carrying it you can spread the word about invisible illness, show that you’re trying to understand and not question an invisible illness and the struggles related. It’s a silent understanding, a silent two-way communication.
t-shirts & totes
S/OS sells merch like t-shirts and bags. The t-shirts have abstract patterns built by dots thought to symbolize the feeling or function of the invisible illnesses. Beneath the pattern, the illness is written in Morse code.
Both pattern and writing is a way of visualizing what’s not visible.
The totebags have the same symbolism as the pins, the eyes. It’s another
way of wearing the symbols and a way of wearing the two symbols at once.
You can visualize your illness and at the same time show your support and understanding for others.
Beyond being visualizations of invisible illness, the merch also works as a way of starting a conversation about an illness. And that’s part of the core of S/OS.
Another way S/OS makes the invisible visible is by using invisible glow-in-the-dark paint. It’s invisible to the eye in broad daylight, but visible in the darkness. Like the illnesses - it’s something that’s always there but not always showing.
The pins glow in the dark, as well as printed eyes and names of illnesses on t-shirts. It’s also possible to buy glow-in-the-dark paint on the website to use to spread the message about invisible illness in a more guerrilla kind of way.
The website is a hub, both for education and information about invisible illness as well as a place to shop merch and order pins. This is the place where you find stories from other young people living with illness as well as information about different types of invisible illnesses. This is where you learn how to spread the word and start conversation about everything invisible.