Thinking Outside The Box

Today I had planned to be productive - tidy my room, wash my hair, do some college work. But I'm far too sleepy for all of that so I thought I'd write a blog post instead. I can manage that, I think.

See I've got this plan, and I'd like your feedback on it. I'm hoping you're going to like it *crosses fingers* I went back to college a few weeks ago, and the briefs came rolling in (if you didn't know already I'm currently studying Visual Communication). I'm only doing part time this year, but maybe I'll write some more about that change in another post. One brief in particular caught my eye, and I'm hoping to create something of some real worth for it. Once again I will be trying to incorporate the spoonie community into my work.

The brief was to choose a culture/community you feel is misunderstood and misrepresented (uhm - hello, perfect) and create type based designs that aim to spark conversation and more accurately represent said culture/community. Music to my ears, let me tell you. Needless to say it didn't take me long before I had a plan in place. I started doing some research and soon realised there isn't currently much out there in the marketplace that aims to help solve this problem. I started sketching up ideas and the thought came to me that I would happily buy stuff with these sketches on - if they existed. Enter, This Thing They Call Recovery. I'm going to make them. I think. I hope. Maybe?

I'm thinking gift goods specifically designed for those with chronic illnesses - greeting cards, pin badges, sticker sets, mugs, posters, tshirts, tote bags, phone cases - the list goes on. I would like to create uplifting but brutally honest pieces that accurately represent this often overlooked community, in the hope that you will feel comfortable sharing these pieces with friends and family etc. Together we'll help abolish the stereotypes and stigmas that seem so intertwined through our lives. Fighting talk, eh?

I want to create pieces that will brighten your day a bit, without making light of your situation and the hardships you are going through. I know you'll agree with me here, but it seems like most people don't know what to say to someone that is chronically sick, even if they have the best intentions. Quite often that fear of saying the wrong thing, or confusion over how to deal with the situation, results in people not saying anything at all. And bit by bit you drift from people. Well that makes me sad, and angry, that us humans find it so difficult to communicate about difficult subjects that we find it easier just to not communicate at all. I'm hoping to make things that do the talking for you, and for them, and hopefully we can begin to close the gap.

There needs to be a better and more authentic way of communicating about sickness and suffering, in a situation where "Get well soon" just doesn't cut it. What do you say to people that might not get better? That idea scares people, when in reality a simple "I believe you" or "I'll always be here" would more than suffice. It doesn't have to be so complicated, and I'd like to enlighten people to that fact.

Often I've created work at college where I think "that looks nice". Packaging pieces or album covers that I've been happy with and proud of. But this is different. I've never had an idea before where I've thought "The world needs this", "This is so important". I really really want to make this a thing, I think it's completely necessary that this stuff exists, and so if anyone's going to make it I figure why not me. None of your typical motivational jargon, I want it to be real for real life people. I'm designing it with you in mind. Because you're important and you're brave and you deserve something nice.

I've started an Instagram account where I'm putting up my sketches, and you can find it here. It's just @thisthingtheycallrecovery. I'm eventually planning on rebranding this blog so it matches the aesthetic over there, and have this website linked to that instagram page instead of my personal one. But that's a job for another day - for now I'm thinking it's maybe naptime.

I'd really appreciate it if you could leave me a comment on this blog post letting me know what you think about the idea. I'd love some feedback that I can pop in my sketchbook to show my lecturer. Are you a spoonie yourself who would appreciate receiving these things? Are you the loved one of someone with a chronic condition who loves the idea of having cards specifically designed for them? If you think it's a horrible idea you can tell me that too, that would maybe be quite handy to know before I get into it.

I've always been somebody that likes to help people - I'd do anything for my friends and will always put others before myself as wrong as that may be. I think this could be my way to help people. I think this could be my little way of making a bit of a difference. And who wouldn't want to do that if they could? I hope you're having as good a day as possible, thank you for spending your spoons reading this post. I hope you're happy you did.