Genetic Alliance UK

Getting the story of genetics onto the BBC



SWAN UK (Syndromes Without A Name) are the support initiative of Genetic Alliance UK, helping families of children with undiagnosed genetic conditions. They had a serious message to get across on the annual Undiagnosed Children's Day, but needed to communicate it in a way that would appeal to a wide audience.

The resulting campaign would also be used in schools visits, meaning it had to remain light enough to appeal to young children, while reflecting the complexity and seriousness of undiagnosed genetic conditions.


Working closely with everyone from fundraisers to genetic experts at SWAN UK, we wrote, designed and produced an animation, telling the story of a girl called Ellie, who has an undiagnosed genetic condition.

Ellie's Story combined a human angle, relatable characters and visual cues (such as floating balloons representing undiagnosed disorders) to appeal to the wide audience that SWAN UK was hoping to reach.

We used the visual language from Ellie's Story to create complementary collateral that would support the animation and the charity on the annual Undiagnosed Children's Day and in the future.


With a relatable story that explained the complexities of undiagnosed genetic conditions, Ellie's Story was broadcast on the BBC New Channel and picked up by national press. As a result, the animation contributed to the most successful annual Undiagnosed Children's Day to date.

More than that, SWAN UK now have an animation suitable for explaining a complex and serious issue to young children during schools visits, as well as a visual language and assets that can be used again and again.

Coverage on the BBC

Ellie's Story was broadcast on the BBC New Channel and picked up by national press.

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