Concept Project; Cycle Care
I developed Cycle Care in my last year at university in the Masters of Communication Design at RMIT. As part of my independent research project I was investigating the ideologies inherent in the packaging design of menstrual products and the history and stigma around periods.
It started with me reading an article by Madeleine Morley about the branding of tampons. It touches on many of the social and political implications of the shame that is surrounding periods and the way current designs that are full of feminine clichés are undermining the utilitarian character of these products, and are perpetuating and emphasising women’s compliance to a problematic notion of secrecy and discretion.
My project started with the question ‘How can the branding and packaging of menstrual products promote a taboo-free relationship with periods?’, and soon turned into ‘How to design a gender-neutral brand for a gendered product to embrace a more diverse audience and be more inclusive?’.
‘Why gender-neutral though?’ was the question I was asked most, and ‘It’s a product for women only, after all.’ I think our lives are infinitely more complex than this though. Even if it is a product ‘for women only’, gender roles are changing: There’s dads out there who are buying period products for their daughters, boyfriends for their girlfriends, husbands for their wives. There’s women who don’t identify with the aesthetic of womanhood that is being established through feminine hygiene brands at the moment. There’s men who have periods. There’s women who have no interest in celebrating periods as a gift of fertility, but who simply accept it as part of who they are.
So my design was informed by those two values: inclusiveness and transparency. The choice of tracing paper as packaging material benefits the brand's aspect of transparency, whilst combining materials with different tactile surfaces led to a compelling contrast: the smoothness of the tracing paper and roughness of the white uncoated stock make for an intriguing experience through materials rather than graphic elements. For the latter, I was embracing a minimalist approach and exploring the beauty of restraint. It is referencing a Japanese aesthetic that sees the most value in something that is extremely plain, because it is this plainness that allows the design to resonate with more people and to be truly inclusive.
You can see and read more about cycle care here: cyclecare.com.au