Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit organization that manages blood products and stem cells for all of Canada (excluding Quebec). CBS has over 14,000 clinics across Canada with 4,300 employees and 17,000 volunteers. Annually, the clinics collect a combined 900,000 units of blood to support Canadians. One unit of blood is donated per session, which amounts to about 10% of blood in the human body.
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is a cause that hits very close to home. Back in 2002, I drove by a branch which had people and signs outside saying “Donate Blood by Sikh Nation”. Without thinking twice, I stopped at the branch and spent 3 hours in line to donate my blood. After this, I started donating regularly and provided over 40 donations. During one of my visits, I struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers and told them I was a designer. One thing lead to another and the volunteer contacted the Regional Communications Manager out of Vancouver, who asked me to work on a new campaign.
Canadian Blood Services announced that donations were declining and inventory was low, which threatened supplies at local hospitals in British Columbia. The campaign’s goal was to increase donor appointments and increase product supplies. CBS focused on Vancouver Island and the Interior region. They had planned to make more days and hours available for donors. This needed to be communicated to the local communities and CBS wanted a postcard mailer that would be mailed out to 14 different locations.
The postcard design was quite different from what was typically sent out of the CBS offices. Generally, their design and artwork was based around photography. In my pitch, I decided to drop all photography and go with a simple design. I wanted to rely on minimalist symbols to create a formulaic and simple message. Working directly with the Communications Manager gave me the opportunity to help develop the slogan for the campaign. We were able to brainstorm a few ideas and landed on “More clinics. More days. Saving three lives just got easier.”
The execution of the design was deemed successful as we were able to bring substantial levels of donations to 11 of the 14 locations. By original estimates, CBS figured the campaign would generate enough supplies at 7 of the 14 locations.
The Canadian Blood Services marketing team liked the flat minimal design and started incorporating it into its future campaigns. The old adage, K.I.S.S (keep it simple, stupid) solved a rather serious problem.