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'My experience of chronic illness fuels my work'

Scope’s online shop has just launched a range of new products featuring artist Jenny McGibbon's ‘inhale & exhale’ design.

Here, Jenny tells us about how her experiences have influenced her work.


I'm a freelance graphic designer and disability advocate. I've had chronic illness for a decade now, and that experience fuels my work at This Thing They Call Recovery, which is my personal blog turned safe, supportive online space for disabled people and those with chronic illnesses.

I create health content that doesn't look like health content, using a mix of colour, illustration and hand-lettering to speak to the human side of sickness.

As a graphic designer, I use a mix of visuals and copy to translate how life with illness feels, particularly when it happens to you when you're young. I think there needs to be much more information out there about health presented in a friendly and approachable manner.

I'm committed to challenging the public’s perception of disability, sparking complex conversations and uniting people and their loved ones together. Chronic illness affects your life as much as your body, and it's time more people knew about it.

My work and Scope’s goals are aligned.

I want to raise awareness of chronic illness through a real, human medium. I try to ensure my work is inclusive for everyone.

Through This Thing They Call Recovery, I aim to make my work relatable for everyone. Approachability and openness are at the core of every piece I create.

I want my work to start conversations about disability.

When I became ill at 16, the only information I received was clinical, cold and quite frankly, pretty scary. It was not personable or relatable, so I decided to do something about it and create artwork that is positive, approachable and relatable.

My simple slogans are honest, and above all I want to open up the dialogue and start a conversation about the complex topic of disability and chronic illness.

People still feel awkward around disability and therefore the subject often isn’t discussed. I don’t believe in sugar coating. The slogans are a daily reminder to encourage understanding to the viewers and open up a conversation that needs to be had.

I also design my work to be a tool and help disabled people to feel empowered and express their feelings, in a safe and supportive environment.

Scope is using 3 of my designs:

• ‘Growth looks different for everyone’. This says everyone is unique so try not to make comparisons.

• ‘Inhale and Exhale’. I want people to take a breather, be gentle and take the pressure off yourself.

• ‘Let's build a new world together’. Through my work I hope we can start to build a better world together

I have fluctuations and my process changes depending on my energy levels, so I have to tailor my work to how I feel.

By supporting Scope, I'm proud to have a wider platform to spread my message: disability and chronic illness can look like anything, happen to anyone, and everyone deserves to feel supported.

I'm excited to have this opportunity to encourage more conversation and work towards a more equal society.

My inhale and exhale design is now available in Scope’s online shop, where you’ll find it on a washing bag made from recycled plastic bottles, a cotton apron and a cotton tote bag.

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