The Case for Her and Refinery29 partner to reposition menopause through creative design.

We are thrilled to announce that for the third year in a row we are sponsoring a stigma smashing D&AD New Blood Awards design brief. This time we are partnering with the incredible Refinery29 and asking young designers to change the conversation around menopause. So, in honor of World Menopause Day on October 18th, let’s talk about menopause.

Menopause is generally seen as a side effect of aging as it typically affects women over 45, but for 5% of the female population that isn’t the case. Due to medical reasons (surgical, chemotherapy, or radiation), autoimmune diseases, or even lifestyle habits (like smoking), premature menopause will happen to one out of every 1,000 women before the age of 30. For some, however, there is no obvious medical cause at all, and that is known as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI).

What is menopause?

By 2025, over one billion people around the world will be experiencing menopause, but what exactly is it? Menopause is literally the pause of menses, or the end of periods, and is preceded by a transitional period called ‘perimenopause’ where ovarian function slowly declines. Perimenopause lasts 3–4 years for most people, but can drag out as long as a decade for some, and is the time when life-altering symptoms begin. 

Some, but certainly not all, of the symptoms of perimenopause are:

  • irregular periods
  • hot flashes
  • sleep problems
  • mood changes
  • changes in sexual function

In a 2019 survey by AARP, 40% of pre-menopausal women feel they are not prepared for menopause, and only 30% of those already going through the process have sought medical relief from symptoms. The damage here is more than just personal anguish. Untreated menopausal symptoms can cost insurers an extra $1300/year and employers up to $6500 in productivity losses.

The bottom line is this: we don’t talk about menopause nearly enough. Look at England as an example, menopause was only added to the school curriculum for the first time just one month ago. 

About the brief

We want young designers to develop material that tackles the lack of awareness about menopause, the issues surrounding it, and social stigmas. This material should be based in research and aim to educate people of all ages, while also considering how the idea can tie into Refinery29’s offerings. 

‘Let’s Talk Menopause’ is an opportunity for young designers to showcase their ability to consider other demographics—just as they will need to do after graduation when they start their real-world jobs. It is easy for young people to talk to young people about issues that affect them. We want them to step outside of their immediate sphere of influence and comfort zone.

Po won a Wood Pencil at the 2019 D&AD New Blood Awards

We spoke with Alexander Day, a freelance brand designer and 2019 New Blood Awards Pencil winner, about working on a topic outside of your comfort zone. In 2019, we asked for content that would break down the taboos around menstruation. According to Alex,

Working on a menstruation brief was a big learning process for me and Edoardo, and I feel we empathize with women and girls a lot more now. ”  

And what is the secret to success? Research. Alexander says the reason they were successful is they put time and consideration into the research phase of their project and most importantly understanding their target audience.

Our project is a learning tool primarily for 9-12-year-old boys, as this is a key time within their learning curriculum. Po can also be used by girls to help them understand issues around menstruation that they may have been unsure of before.” – Alexander Day

What comes next?

The 2021 design briefs are available for download on the New Blood Awards webpage. Just look for ‘Let’s talk menopause’ from The Case for Her and Refinery29.

The submission deadline is March 23 at 17:00 GMT. Between now and then, stay tuned to our social media channels for more news, updates, and helpful hints to make your submission the best it can be.

For inspiration, make sure to check out all of the winners of our 2019 and 2020 briefs on our Collaborations page.

New Blood Awards Eligibility Criteria

“Anyone aged 18 or over on 1 January 2021, without significant experience in a paid creative role, can enter the New Blood Awards. The awards are also open to students of any age. Student entrants must be enrolled on a recognised full or part-time higher education level course, anywhere in the world, on 1 January 2021.

If you are not entering as a student, you must not have cumulatively worked for 1 year or more, or be employed in a 1 year or permanent paid contract, in a paid creative role at the time of entry. A creative role is defined as a position where the entrant is employed in any type of creative role (including strategists) such as: copywriter, art director, graphic designer, etc for a creative organisation. This includes paid placements. Entrants may still enter if they work (or have worked) for a creative company in a non- creative role. The one year of experience can be either continuous or accumulated over a longer period of time. For example, four paid placements of three months each, over the course of two years. If you have worked as a freelancer, this means you must not have made the majority of your income from a creative role for the equivalent of 1 year or more.”