Syopa (= cancer in Finnish) Trademark
A campaign to breakdown the taboo of talking about cancer

Functionality and use of design
Anyone wearing the design will automatically work as a human media for the good cause – encouraging thoughts, emotions, discussion and action. The design represents a desirable Scandinavian design. The profit goes to the Cancer Society, for their work.

Uses of the design (so far): – 1) fashion collection, 2) exhibition in the Helsinki Design Museum: (clothing/Paola Suhonen, photography/Lauri Eriksson, poems/Mikko Rimminen, exhibition architecture design/M41LH2, planning Bob Helsinki).

How did this design improve life?
The design has diminished fear and made it easier to think and discuss the taboo subject that cancer is. Simultaneously it has worked as a fundraising vehicle (for research, examinations, patient and family support etc). Through bringing cancer to the contexts of popular culture and everyday life, it has encouraged people to help themselves and others. Media has introduced new viewpoints. The 1) design itself 2) design-related fashion collection, 3) exhibition in the Designmuseum (including not only fashion but also poems, photographs and the space around them), 4) fashion shows etc all connected cancer to life and recovery instead of death and fear. The design also brought Finns together - cancer touches everybody either directly or through a loved one. The design was meant for everyone and anyone. It attacked prejudices.

Drawbacks of life improvement:
Some people were hurt by the approach. However, this is not so much a drawback but a natural consequence when touching a taboo. (A surprisingly large amount of feedback, 75%, was positive).

Research and need
The Cancer Society of Finland has worked for 70 years in order to fund research, support cancer patients and their relatives and minimize cancer-related fear. Despite the society’s good and successful efforts, their funds currently come dominantly from wills – from people who are already dead.

Research shows, that this organization, one of the biggest and most established health societies in Finland, has not been in the fundraising top of mind or preferred by citizens. The Syopa trademark and subsequent design were created in order to make cancer the most talked about good cause issue. The aim of the trademark is to act as a catalyst and a “therapist”, encouraging people to think and talk about cancer, to go and test themselves and to donate money.

No specific, primary research was made to make the design, but Cancer Society’s 70 years of research and experience led to the solution. The need for a new, radical approach became evident.

Designed by
Paola Suhonen , Ale Lauraeus, Erkki Izarra & Anna Moilanen - Finland