At this time of year, with wintry storms and the prospect of spring showers, you may find yourself in need of an umbrella. This was certainly true of the World Health Organization, who recently commissioned Drawnalism to design a umbrella to be given to delegates at a conference in Japan.

The umbrella in the WHO Executive Boardroom in Geneva

It all started in March last year, when Drawnalism was drawing In-the-Moment at a WHO-led event (PDF report – also see my drawings from the event here) on the subject of Universal Health Coverage. Amid the event, I was asked if I could draw them a version of their existing logo, a simple design of an umbrella with a map of the world sheltering a group of people…

The little piece of drawnalism proved very popular and has since been adopted by the UHC Partnership as their main logo. Practically this means it is used extensively throughout their website and other literature – including as a ‘standee’ at other conferences and events.


Recognising the popularity of the new logo, WHO returned to Drawnalism with a new proposal. Could we help make an actual umbrella? We could and a printer supplied a template for the the new product design. There was a little maths to do to work out the dimensions of the individual umbrella panels but everything was covered.


The idea was to have the map of the world on the outside of the umbrella (as in the original logo design) and a frieze of people being ‘covered’ inside the umbrella. The frieze was a repeating pattern of 8 triangular panels, whereas the outer map was a single octagonal image, based on the design used by the UN (and WHO) on their flag. For map fans – this is the North-pole centred azimuthal equidistant projection of the globe!


North-pole centred azimuthal equidistant projection

With the addition of logos the artwork was approved and went off to the printers. As luck would have it, shortly after the umbrellas were delivered to the WHO in Geneva, I was due in town for another conference for UNAIDS. Naturally, I took the opportunity to take a few snaps of our design in the Executive Board Room at WHO!

Inside the WHO Executive Boardroom in Geneva

And I’ll be very easy to spot when it is raining now!

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