Tackling Sensitive Topics

Addressing Pain Points Creatively Part Two

Animation is a great medium through which to speak about ideas that might be perceived as difficult or scary such as disease, death, war, loneliness and poverty. These are issues that affect people all over the world so the visual simplicity and clarity that animation achieves is an easy way to transcend language barriers. 

Visual metaphors and symbols can be used to represent difficult abstract concepts without leaving viewers overwhelmed, and foster conversation about meaningful topics that often require delicate handling. 

Animated characters may be more approachable than live action people whilst still evoking that sense of empathy that is required to engage viewers with the message.

Sensitive topics:

In the realm of charitable giving, legacies and gifts play a vital role, providing a large proportion of the funding that helps further noble causes. Many charities rely heavily on this form of income to realise their visions. To communicate this need to the public without coming across as demanding or insensitive is a very delicate task that requires very light handling. The intricacies of discussing health issues, especially those linked to conditions that evoke fear and concern, demand a compassionate approach. 

Scleroderma and Reynaud’s UK worked with us to create this animation that demonstrates a warm, gentle yet impactful way to deliver sensitive messaging.

We also partnered with the British Society for Immunology on a global explainer series urging parents to vaccinate young children. We conveyed the message without using any off-putting imagery like needles and introduced a cute, non-threatening shield-shaped vaccine character.

Avoiding Stigma:

Employing characters that lack specificity in terms of ethnicity, age and gender serves as a strategic and inclusive approach. By creating characters that are intentionally non-specific, the aim is to avoid reinforcing stereotypes or drawing unwarranted conclusions about the diverse attributes of individuals. The neutral characters that animation facilitates offer a universal representation that resonates across various demographics.

Working with the Campaign to End Loneliness, we made an animation that used a bouncy ball to represent a lonely person. This poignant symbol emphasised the universality of loneliness, notably avoiding the misconception that loneliness is something which only affects older people.

Similarly, in collaboration with Howard’s League, in an animation to highlight the crisis of overcrowding in UK prisons, we opted for squares to symbolise individuals. This choice steered clear of perpetuating negative stereotypes associated with people in prisons, instead portraying them as individuals.

Animation is an effective way to compassionately convey complex and sensitive messages without alienating viewers. This versatile medium empowers animators to craft imagery that not only mitigates the risk of unintentional biases but also poignantly conveys messages through emotive symbolism.