Private Patents and Public Health


Design serves as a powerful tool for advocacy and education. We are able to go beyond books and are allowed to design dynamic platforms for learning. Together with Health Action International and Open Society Foundations, Little Cloud Collective (Claudia Bernett, Michael Kahane, and I) designed and developed a website that will serves as a tool to educate healthcare advocates, consumers, policy makers, and journalists about the complex relationship between patents and medicines.

The content for the website came from Ellen ’t Hoen’s book Private Patents and Public Health: Changing Intellectual Property Rules for Access to Medicines. The website was thoughtfully designed to allow the visitor to get as little or as much information they want on a specific topic. Within each section, users are given ability to “dig deeper” through accordions in each section and link out to supporting material. The website also gives you the ability to share each infographic/section on Facebook and Twitter.

My role on this project put me in charge of the Visual Design and illustrations for the website. Our goal for this project was to create a welcoming platform to deliver serious and complex messages. One of the challenges was to find a balance between the person who is just wanting to learn some information about patents to providing content for an expert in the field. In the end, the friendly nature of the visuals became attractive for the everyday user, and the organization of the content provided the depth necessary for an experienced user.