Breast Care Foundation: Case Study.

Currently, 1 in 7 women gets breast cancer. For men, it’s 1 in 100. Early detection provides the greatest chance of survival, so regularly checking your breasts is vitally important. That’s why Cooler Media came to the aid of the Breast Care Foundation (BCF) with clear instructions on how to check your breasts yourself and how to easily recognize the symptoms.

Thumbnail animatie video - Breast Care Foundation

A vitally importent message.

The BCF has developed a breast-checking technique to quickly recognize the signs of breast cancer. Breast examinations are usually based on touch, but that is just one small part of this technique. BCF wants to emphasize that you can learn a lot about your breasts by looking, too. Visual examinations are also easy to carry out. It’s up to us to explain the task clearly.

We are pleased to tell you all about this special case study. There is always a lot more behind an animation than you think. That’s why we will explain the deliberate stylistic and other choices we made, as well as the visual elements that reinforce this vitally important message.

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The 12 symptoms.

Developping a style.

As we do with all our projects, we began this one with a script-and-style session. In this session, we discussed the symptoms of breast cancer and how you can best check for them yourself. This was the central idea behind the visual explanation that we would create for BCF.

That’s why we chose a problem/solution structure. From “I have no idea what to look for” to “These are the steps you take, and this is what you look for during the examination.”

During the session, it became clear that you need plenty of peace and quiet to recognize symptoms during an examination. So we made calmness a central feature of this animation. Using illustrated images and minimal animation, we keep movement present yet contained during the video.

We investigated which style would best suit the message. We then presented BCF with three styles to choose from. The first sketches were made based on their choice.

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Character design.

It’s important that viewers can identify with the characters to some extent. We have designed the characters according to the principle of diversity. The model is a realistic representation of a woman: it could be anyone. We also illustrate this in the animation by introducing various characters with different skin colors, body types, ages, and other external characteristics. These characters also have realistic features.

Since breast cancer mainly occurs in women, a woman has been chosen as the main character. Visualizing how a breast exam is carried out and depicting the symptoms are also best shown with a woman’s breast.

Use of color.

The final style was born out of lots of brainstorming sessions and an evaluation of the style choices. We laid a blue filter over the background and used a red filter for the live-action images of objects and people. That’s how we emphasized the central idea of the story behind each visual, which enabled the objects and people to really stand out.

The most prominent color in the animation is pink. It was chosen because most initiatives against breast cancer or for breast cancer research use the color pink. The color has a symbolic value for breast cancer initiatives and creates a connection with the overall aim. It is recognized around the world.

In addition to this soft pink color, an eye-catching color palette was chosen for small details like the mirror edges, and soft colors for the other elements, to place more emphasis on the story.

The breast design.

It was important that no metaphors for the breasts themselves should be used in this animation. Whereas you will often see alternative objects like oranges used to depict symptoms online or on TV, here we chose to create an animation of actual breasts. This was done to increase awareness and to make the guide for visual and tactile breast examination as realistic as possible.

To reinforce the realistic aspect of this animation, we deliberately chose to depict a range of breasts showing symptoms. The women’s bodies and the man’s body are not ‘perfect’ according to the beauty ideals previously promoted in the media, for example. The bodies and breasts are all about diversity. This, again, promotes self-identification among the viewers.

Details.

A lot of attention has been paid to detail. The main character has big eyes to emphasize the need to ‘look’ at your breasts during a visual examination. Promoting a calm feeling was also an important guiding principle. That’s why the main character is positioned in the middle of the image and the moving elements have a calm and fluid motion design. This creates a calm atmosphere and focuses your attention on the examination and the spoken text. Everyone can therefore understand the explanation guided by the animation.

You will also see lots of little details reflected in the design of the characters. Moles, curves, and other bodily features make the characters more human.

Cooler Media - Jamie O'Brien
Cooler Media - Dani

“I was able to work with Dymphie on this great project. This made it a different type of animation than one done with our usual method. Dymphie designed the characters in terms of their attitude and positioning and I then animated them slightly in this position. The loose and fluid shapes were also really fun to create. A fun fact here is that the motion design was inspired by the movement of a lava lamp.”

Jamie – Animator

“I’m really pleased that we were able to create a clear explanimation for BCF and that we can break the taboo about such a sensitive subject.”

Daniël – Art Director