Bowel cancer only affects older people, right? Well, no, young people get bowel cancer too – a lot of young people in fact. Around 2,500 under 50s are diagnosed in the UK every year. But with more than nine out of ten new cases in people over the age of 50 and nearly six out of ten cases in people 70 and over – the support, literature and understanding leans heavily and understandably towards these age groups. The under 50s are an overlooked minority.
That changed in November 2018 when Sophia Sangchi – diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer at just 31 – founded ‘Never Too Young’ and came to us with a vision.
Never Too Young (NTY) – is a project group (part of Bowel Cancer UK) exclusively run by young people affected by bowel cancer for young people affected by bowel cancer. Patients, partners, family and friends united by one thing – a drive to share personal experiences, raise awareness and make changes that save lives.
They knew from first-hand experience that awareness of bowel cancer was sadly lacking. It’s surprisingly the least talked about of all the cancers – and very few people are motivated to fundraise for bowels – but, and here’s the big thing, bowel cancer is treatable and curable if (and it’s a big if) it’s diagnosed early.
There could not be a brief that better epitomised our BeMore.FearLess.™ philosophy. Our mission became to help change that tiny little word ‘if’ (diagnosed early) to ‘when’ – by creating a brand movement that captures attention, drives awareness, builds community, empowers conversations, and ultimately could result in saving lives.
We needed something captivating to cut through, an expression that faithfully represented the existing younger bowel cancer community and grab the attention of those unaware of the problem.
The ‘colon’ device became a clever, clear and simple shortcut to the brand, and since we knew we wanted to be a brand that fostered conversation, we made the most of it. We devised ways to use the colon throughout its brand expression, from being part of the logo itself to a headline, to appearing as ratios, times, fractions, and even loo rolls – each designed to help drive awareness of key symptoms to be aware of at every touchpoint.
The right words were essential for the NTY brand, so we partnered with Reed Words to create a strong and authentic tone of voice that carefully treads the line between assertive and supportive.
Our confident words needed a distinctive font, so we put a brief out to some of our typographer friends. As a subject close to his heart, long-standing Taxi collaborator, Tom Lane poured his heart and soul into a bowel-inspired typographic solution. Aptly named ‘Sophia Display’, in honour of Sophia, this visually challenging font, with its twists, turns and intentionally uncomfortable aesthetic is the perfect complement to Reeds’ words and has been fully embraced by the community – aka ‘The Bowelies’.
“The NTY project team have been genuinely inspiring collaborators – with most of them undergoing treatment throughout the project – sometimes needing to leave Zoom calls for chemo sessions – while continuing with their day jobs during a pandemic – an incredible, inspiring group of people. It’s been an honour to work with them in developing this, hopefully, life-saving initiative. ”
Sophia sadly died in November 2019, but Never Too Young is her incredible legacy, and through it, she is continuing to help young people with bowel cancer across the UK.