A new model of patient-centred care

Too embarrassing to talk about

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an unpreventable, complex, chronic, relapsing and often debilitating lifelong disease of the digestive tract. So far, there’s no cure. Chances are, you’ve never heard of IBD. That’s because an inflamed bowel is often too embarrassing to talk about.

In 2017, a group of IBD specialists and advocates working in British Columbia saw the need and urgency for improved delivery and management of IBD patient care in the province. They formed a not-for-profit society with the goal of bringing the entire patient care team together under one roof for a seamless flow of clinical care as well as education and research.

The centre’s directors retained Combo to develop its brand, as well as print and digital materials.

The brand identity Combo developed reflects this patient-focused model through a Russian-nesting-doll-like execution of the letters I, B and D. The I at the centre represents the individual living with IBD; the B in the middle, created from negative white space, hints at the hidden aspect of the disease; the D on the outside shows the envelopment of care the centre provides—literally surrounding the individual with the support required to manage his or her disease.

The response was everything we could hope for, with the board unanimously approving the identity at first presentation.

"Thank you all so much for the hard work and attention to our cause. I am pleased that Dr. B. and Dr. R. were able to choose a logo right away. That shows you fully understand what we need and want."

Joan Stobbs, Executive Assistant, The IBD Centre of BC

Bringing IBD out of hiding

The intention of the website was to dispel the stigma of IBD through stories of people living with it. We were privileged to meet with a number of impressive individuals ranging in age from 14 to 65. They wanted to speak up—to show others struggling with IBD that you can lead full and meaningful lives while coping with the disease. The result is a series of compelling stories and images that anchor the site.

The website also lists facts and figures about IBD that most people are unaware of, such as: 25,000 British Columbians struggle with IBD; 1,500+ new cases are diagnosed annually; children account for nearly 25% of the IBD population; peak age of IBD diagnosis is around age 25. We carried this messaging over to social media, developing a series of factual messages that also work as banners.

In March 2019, The IBD Centre of BC opened in temporary space in Vancouver.

Combo continues to collaborate with the centre. It’s been an eye-opening and humbling experience working with people so passionately determined to make IBD a more manageable disease in British Columbia. They’ve appreciated the expertise we bring to the table, too:

“You have done more than help us with our proposal and branding and I thank you for being our guides through this non-profit maze. We are so lucky to have your expertise and comitment. Thank you.”

The centre’s board members had discussed creating a video that could express the need for the centre, but lacked the funds to do so. However, in 2018, Combo’s extremely talented animation intern made it possible for us to produce the video on a tight budget. We were even able to record the voiceover for free at the Vancouver Public Library’s digital media studio, Inspiration Lab.

The Combo combo:

Strategy: Combo Creative
Writing: Su T Fitterman + Kelley Korbin
Identity Design: Nancy Wu
Print + Digital Design: Today Studio
Photography: Yasmeen Strang
Coding: Glance Digital
Animation: Tala Schlossberg

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