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Taxi Studio designs human colon typeface for Never Too Young bowel cancer campaign


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Never Too Young by Taxi Studio

Bristol design office Taxi Studio has created a typeface that looks like intestines as part of the branding for Never Too Young, a campaign alerting young people to the dangers of bowel cancer.

Based on the colon, an organ that is part of the digestive system, the typeface features on everything from posters to loo roll and spells out phrases such as “trust your gut” and “know your sh*t”.

Taxi Studio designed the branding
Never Too Young raises awareness about bowel cancer in young people

“The colon device became a clever, clear and simple shortcut to the brand,” said Taxi Studio.

The branding is for Never Too Young, a project that is part of the charity Bowel Cancer UK. Led by a team of young people with bowel cancer, it raises awareness of the risk of developing the disease at any age.

Never Too Young is a bowel cancer support group
The typeface has two fonts, Sophia Display and Sophia Bold

The group was founded by the late Sophia Sangchi, a woman who was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer at the age of 31, and a friend of Taxi Studio designer Charlie Tallis, who was the lead designer on the project.

Named Sophia Display in honour of Sangchi, who died in 2019, the typeface is a tumbling collection of twisty letters resembling a human colon.

Taxi Studio designed the typeface
The typeface mimics a twisty colon

“We devised ways to use the colon throughout its brand expression, from being part of the logo itself, to a headline, to appearing as ratios, times, fractions and even loo rolls,” said Taxi Studio.

“Each is designed to help drive awareness of key symptoms to be aware of at every touchpoint.”

Also available in a bold font, the Sophia typeface features in Never Too Young’s materials in bright, punchy colours to attract the attention of a younger audience.

Bold colours are used for Taxi Studio's campaign
The campaign is a balance of assertive but supportive

While most people with bowel cancer are over 50 years old, according to Never Too Young around 2,500 under-50s are diagnosed with the disease in the UK every year.

The key to treating the disease is catching it early, so the group is keen to help young people learn the symptoms and seek treatment fast.

Bowel cancer is an umbrella term for any cancer that starts in the large bowel, including colon and rectal cancer. The three main symptoms are blood in your poo, changes to your bowel movements, and persistent stomach pain and bloating.

Never Too Young highlights these symptoms by instructing young people to trust their bodies and keep track of their bowel movements.

Merchandise used in the branding
Loo roll reminds young people to “know your sh*t”

Taxi Studio collaborator Tom Lane used the shape of the colon itself to communicate the straight-to-the-point copywriting done by agency Reed Words. The slogans are meant to be assertive yet supportive.

“We needed something captivating to cut through, an expression that faithfully represented the existing younger bowel cancer community and grab the attention of those unaware of the problem,” explained Taxi Studio.

Never Too Young by Taxi Studio
The slogans were chosen to be assertive but supportive

Branding also includes merchandise promoting Never Too Young, from tote bags and T-shirts to phone cases and loo roll featuring explanatory messages.

Taxi Studio is a creative firm established in 2002 by Alex Bane, Spencer Buck and Ryan Wills.

Other typography projects exploring aspects of the human body include Swedish punk band Pissjar’s typeface made from their own urine, and Filipino graphic designer Julius Raymund Advincula’s Bold Type, a typeface formed from the various hidden letterforms he found from exploring folds in his skin.

Images and video are courtesy of Taxi Studio.

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