Stories

Can graphic design save your life?

These images how it's been trying to do exactly that for nearly 200 years.

Helen Babbs

  • In pictures

Smoking is Slow Motion Suicide poster, 1972

Biman Mullick, Cleanair
In 1972, Indian designer and educator Biman Mullick founded the anti-smoking organisation Cleanair, and has been designing materials for this campaign ever since.
Smoking is Slow Motion Suicide poster, 1972, Biman Mullick, Cleanair.

In 1972, Indian designer and educator Biman Mullick founded the anti-smoking organisation
Cleanair, and has been designing materials for this campaign ever since.

Anti-smoking stamp, Cyprus 1995

Relatively cheap to produce and widely distributed, stamps have often been used to raise awareness
of public health concerns.

Infographics: Human Body, 2014

Peter Grundy is considered to be a pioneer of infographics. This is his first children’s book.

Too Great a Risk, secondary-school teaching materials, 1975

Designed by Gillian Crampton Smith and Sarah Curtis; published by the Family Planning Association.
These comics were a response to increases in teenage pregnancy in the 1970s

Children’s haemophilia colouring book, 1990

Illustrator Dick Bruna was best known for creating Miffy, however he also donated his design
services to charities such as the Haemophilia Society and the Red Cross.

Bayer Aspirin bottle, 1986

Aspirin was first trademarked in 1899, having been discovered by a Bayer scientist. The tablets were
stamped with the circular Bayer logo from 1910.

Medomina advertising (sedative), c.1960s

Swiss pharmaceutical company JR Geigy AG was renown from its ground-breaking graphic design,
which made Geigy products modern and memorable, rather than technical or scientific.

Broadsheet warning about Indian cholera, 1831

Known as ‘Indian cholera’ after the 1817 outbreak in Bengal, the first epidemic arrived in London in
1831.

Liquid Latex, 1933

Condom packaging is a barometer of changing attitudes towards sex. By 1931, condoms were

Dementia Poster, 2012

The fading logo of Alzheimer Nederland reflects the vanishing world of people with dementia.

About the contributors

Photograph of Helen Babbs

Helen Babbs

Helen is a Digital Editor for Wellcome Collection.