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Internal Production > 16.3 Self-Initiated Projects

Dolografie – A visual communication tool for pain therapy

by Sabine Affolter

Dolografie – A visual communication tool for pain therapy

Dolografie supports communication between medical specialists and patients. The use of image cards enables patients, medical specialists and other to talk about the various components of pain in a precise and differentiated manner.

Dolografie is a self-initiated project from the communication designers Sabine Affolter and Katja Rüfenacht. 
The Dolografie images were developed by the designers. In collaboration with Dr. med. Niklaus Egloff from the University Hospital Bern, the images were tested, modified and refined in order to optimise their suitability to describe pain sensations in a therapeutic setting. The images were created and developed through an alternating process of image creation and interviewing patients.

Patients suffering from pain have often difficulties finding the right words to describe their sensations. Since pain therapy rests upon subjective reports by the patients, the difficulty to couch pain often impedes treatment.

Once pain is externalized with the use of a visible object, the problem appears clearer and more conceivable. Thanks to Dolografie the person concerned is able to describe their pain experience in a precise and differentiated manner. Pain becomes visible and conceivable for those who are not concerned. On one side, pain anamnesis is thereby supported and on the other side, it represents the basis for patients to feel understood and to be confident in their treatment.

The research part of the project was awarded the Swiss Design Award (in the «research» category). 
The final product has been published in 2016.

Dolografie comprehends a set of 34 image cards in postcard format and comes in a handy box, available at: www.dolografie.com

  • Creative Directors Sabine Affolter
  • Art Directors Sabine Affolter
  • Designers Sabine Affolter, Katja Rüfenacht
  • Illustrators Sabine Affolter, Katja Rüfenacht
  • Photographers Sabine Affolter
  • Editors Sabine Affolter, Patrick Savolainen
  • Copywriters Affolter/Rüfenacht
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