London College of Communication students create impactful NHS blood donation campaign

22 December 2023

To mark the NHS' 75th anniversary, students from London College of Communication, part of the University of the Arts London, developed a campaign to encourage more young people to give blood, particularly those from black African/Caribbean backgrounds in collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant. Their ideas included dedicated events, workshops, creative partnerships, social media activity and PR activations, some of which will be used in the national NHS 75 campaign this year.

Campaign jigsaw picture, showing a missing piece with the words "Jhon needs you"This design brief formed part of the University's Design Professional Practice unit this year. Students worked in interdisciplinary teams including students studying for degrees in Branding and Identity, Graphic and Media Design, UX Design, Art Direction, Illustration and Visual Media and other disciplines.

Kat Wesley, Strategic Partnerships Manager at London College of Communication, said: 

"Our students represent the next generation of changemakers who can make a positive difference to the world and communities through their creative work. Working with NHS England and NHS Blood and Transplant provided an excellent opportunity for the students, not only to get real industry experience, but also to help promote a worthy cause, and one of real importance to many in the wider Southwark community in which we’re based. We’re delighted to be part of the NHS' 75th anniversary, bringing together students and the Health Service and demonstrating its vital role for many more years to come."

The students behind the project

We spoke with 2 of the students who created the campaign about their experience on this project. Speaking about how they came up with the idea for the campaign, Sazanias, 3rd year student studying User Experience Design said:

"'The Missing Piece' campaign was created with the primary objective of highlighting the urgent requirement for blood donors to assist individuals in need of blood transfusions. In this context, donors symbolize the critical 'missing piece' without which individuals with blood-related health conditions cannot enjoy a healthy life."

Euijin Oh, who is studying Design for Art Direction, added:

"The puzzle was used to make audiences empathize with the patients with sickle cell to motivate them to donate blood. As a puzzle never can be intact without every single piece, the 'missing piece' meant the blood donor could be one last piece of the puzzle enabling the patient can live a better life."

Each student played a different role to create their campaign. Sazanias said:

"I found the research aspect of the project allowed me to develop a campaign aimed at improving the lives of those affected by sickle cell and raising awareness among young people.

In my role as a UX designer, I learned about the importance of a human-centred approach implemented within healthcare campaigns. Collaborating with my team, I conducted a thorough analysis of factors like age, ethnicity and cultural background. This meticulous examination enabled us to pinpoint the most suitable messages that would effectively resonate with the campaign's target audience, ensuring a more compelling and tailored experience for them."

In contrast, Euijin worked on the graphic design of the campaign, saying:

"Throughout this project, I was able to improve my design skills and techniques of using programs such as Photoshop or InDesign while making the graphics".

Speaking about what they have taken from this experience, Sazanias said

"the major takeaway for me during this project was the opportunity to work with a small group of creative designers, learning to develop my skills in terms of user experience design using my background in graphic design and challenging myself to learn new techniques.

Working with the NHS and the UAL team allowed me to refine my work to achieve high standards in my practice.

In the future, I hope to work in an environment where my work can contribute to helping people in the real world as per this campaign where the aim was to put donors and those receiving donations at the heart".

In their pursuit to merge creativity with purpose, these students exemplify the transformative power of collaboration and innovation in healthcare advocacy. Through their 'The Missing Piece' campaign, the students pioneered a narrative that not only highlights the urgency for blood donors but also emphasizes the profound impact a single donor can have on someone's life.

We need people from all communities to give blood to make sure there’s the right blood available for everyone. Most people can give blood if they’re in good general health. Check if you can donate.