First Aid Kit for Refugees & NGOs
Facing the European refugee crisis in Autumn 2015, we asked ourselves: How can designers show respect to refugees and help them? Our answer was: by providing clear and quick information in situations where they need help the most is one way to go. Coming to places of shelter, they often have the same questions regarding safety, stay and medical help. This information needs to be easily understandable, this is where good design comes into place.
After getting in touch with the Austrian Red Cross, and observing several refugee shelters in Vienna, we realized that we could actually help by designing a communication signage based on pictograms. Shortly after, the language-independent, icon-based information system FIRST AID KIT was installed in various shelters. It supports the communication process between refugees and NGOs, bringing structure to these often chaotic places.
The system labels infrastructure, communicates dos & don’ts and also considers ethnical differences. E.g. the sign for women: headscarf – yes or no?! We designed an icon that serves to all religious beliefs – the head can be perceived as hairstyle yet at the same time as an Islamic headscarf. Quite important are the medical icons for the first diagnosis: they help locating the most common symptoms and easen the dialogue.
The system was developed, tested and constantly adapted for Viennese refugee shelters. To make this volunteer initiative a true open design project, the FIRST AID KIT has turned into a package that can be freely downloaded from a homepage. After the download, it can be printed out by the NGOs themselves on neon green paper to be more visible. Since being published in October 2015, it has been downloaded over 400 times and is in use in many places all over Europe.
- Creative Directors Erwin K. Bauer
- Art Directors Anne Hofmann
- Designers Katharina Hölzl
- Illustrators Dasha Zaichanka
- Photographers –
- Editors –
- Copywriters –