Background Adolescents are media-savvy and extremely brand conscious. Much promotional material for sexual health services is poorly designed. Little has been written about how this may influence their acceptability among young people.
Objectives A new CaSH service was set up in primary care. In order to make the service appealing and accessible to adolescents, a graphic designer was recruited to create concepts and ideas for the look of the new service.
Methods Following a broad search of current CaSH websites and leaflets nationally, many were found to be poorly designed and configured, using cliched teenage imagery and language. Focus groups were set up with local young people. Six possible logos were presented, first using the suggested service name in words only, then gradually introducing each of the logo options in colour. Opinions were sought at each stage.
Results/Discussion There were widely differing views about most of the designs. Any perceived use of teenage slang, or reference to sexual health or the NHS, was rejected. Leaflets were also seen as irrelevant and boring, and leading to possible breaks in confidentiality. One logo was favoured unanimously. A poster and website were designed based on this logo to develop the brand further. In place of a leaflet, a business style card was designed, bearing only a logo and website address, enhancing the services' confidentiality. The website is the key portal for adolescents to gain information in both a confidential and informative way. Promotion in schools and pubs has led to high brand recognition. Informal feedback from service users has shown a high acceptability of the cards and the logo is perceived as contemporary and relevant.
Conclusion With brand-conscious adolescents it is worth taking care about branding of services. More research is needed to see whether approval of the brand translates into increased acceptability among teenagers, and thus into increased usage of the clinic.