Pulp Studios Inc. is lucky to work with the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society. They are a staff and volunteer operated organization committed to supporting persons with
Down syndrome and their families, through provision of programming, providing information & resources and above all connecting members with one another in Edmonton, Alberta. Initially built by 4 families, EDSS now supports over 160 families.
In July 2012, they wanted to focus on the Visiting Parents Team; a group of volunteer parents who visit new families of children with Down syndrome to provide support and information. They asked for a 3 piece print pack that covered the Visiting Parents Team and EDSS general info.
It’s exciting to work with groups like EDSS who educate you and change your perspective on much more than marketing. Michelle Ponich is the executive director of EDSS and one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. She pours her heart and soul into these families and children, and makes it look so effortless. These are the people you want leading these types of organizations. It’s her mission, not just her job.
While working closely with Michelle over many months, she taught me to see Down syndrome in a new light. The birth of any child should be a joyous one, and breaking negative stereotypes about Down syndrome can help parents receive the best support and care.
The only way I knew how to create concepts for this sensitive subject was to play dress up. Recreate the scenario I’m building for and experience every step of it. This was hard. This is a good example of a project that follows you home. I spent a week imagining that I was pregnant with no thought of Down syndrome. I wrote down every feeling I had from complete joy to intense fear. Before reading into the Visiting Parents program, I spent my next week imagining what I would HONESTLY feel if I found out my little guy had Down syndrome… It shocked me how quickly my excitement was erased by blind fear. I could only think about Down syndrome. How would I manage this? Will I have the money to support this? What quality of life will he/she have? What quality of life will we have as a family?
And while mind mapping on my couch, I noticed the movie “Babies” on TV. I thought, well in the spirit of all things babies, lets give it a try. With no dialogue, the entire movie follows 4 different babies from around the world from birth to first steps. Down syndrome still on my mind, my focus shifted back onto my fictitious baby. Cute babies and happy moms visually distracted me long enough to feel different. Worry again entered my mind soon after, but that’s where my fears turned into questions.
There was my concept. It didn’t have to erase every fear a family felt. It just had to remind them for a second to focus on the baby and not the diagnosis. By celebrating the baby, it might better prepare a person to receive important information about Down syndrome. Paired with the already positive content that EDSS provided I found some heartfelt quotes to put on each piece. Here was the final Visiting Parents piece:
Following this theme, I treated the general brochure the same.
Which would all be housed in the EDSS print folder.
Overall, I loved this project. The organic and homemade feel of each piece, paired with informative and well-written content made this a personal favorite.
Thank you EDSS and Michelle Ponich for giving me such a memorable opportunity.