Alphabetical Studio gets to the heart of BHF guide design

Advancements in medical research and treatment mean more young heart patients now survive into adulthood – but for some, the complexity of their heart condition often requires surgery in their teenage years to improve their quality of life.

As a result of this, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) required a guide to having heart surgery, specifically for young people (13-19 year olds), to explain everything that was going to happen, cover in detail each stage of the process and address common concerns.

The result, ‘My Heart Op: A Young Person’s Guide to Having Heart Surgery’, not only met the enthusiastic approval of young heart patients but also won Best Brochure and overall Best In Design at the Antalis Review Awards.


Designed by Alphabetical Studio, printed by the APS Group on Edixion Offset 120gsm and 250gsm, using an Empress printer, the judges unanimously warmed to this piece during the judging process, which was deemed to have resonated with the target audience perfectly, delivering the British Heart Foundation’s messages in a powerful and moving way.

Tommy Taylor at Alphabetical comments: “The brief from the British Heart Foundation was to create a publication that was frank, direct and informative to provide young people with advance warning of what would happen as part of their heart surgery and allow them to prepare for it. With nothing in existence to support young people in this way, we relished the opportunity to create something very powerful that would make a difference to many people’s lives.”

With creativity, usability and durability all key requirements, the paper selection was central to the design process.

Tommy comments: “Many underestimate the role that substrates play in design but it’s central to the whole creative process. With staggered navigation, vibrant print colours and the need for longevity, as well as the requirement for something that felt good, we really had to think about the paper from the get go. We also wanted to achieve the best possible quality within the agreed budget.”

Alphabetical Studio selected Edixion substrate for the guide – a wood-free, uncoated, quality offset paper, supplied by Antalis. A robust high volume substrate, it’s synonymous with durability and high quality printing whilst delivering good value for money.

Tommy comments: “We designed the guide with cut pages navigation in a really simple way so patients could find and access information easily. Vibrant pictograms, each

representing a different section of the guide, also demanded a high print quality. There’s a real misperception of Edixion paper due to its low cost point but it feels lovely and holds vibrant colours well. With a high volume, non-artistic audience, we didn’t want to go too crafty with the paper – it had to be subliminal but deliver against all the key requirements.”

Rob Chandler, head of print channel for Antalis, said: “Alphabetical Studio’s work on the design and production of this guide is a superb example of how powerful informative design can be and also a strong reminder to all printers about the critical role of substrate selection in the creative process. We supply hundreds of different types of substrates to the print sector, each with different qualities and ideal end uses – the opportunities to be creative with substrate are limitless.”

Amy Corkery at the British Heart Foundation said: “The feedback from our young patients on the guide has been amazing – they are delighted with it.  We’ve wanted something like this for a long time, providing frank advice and positioning teenagers as responsible for their own healthcare. Before we launched the guide, most of our young people couldn’t even pronounce many of the procedures they were having – now they’re starting to tell us about them!”

Alphabetical also scooped the runner-up prize for Best Corporate Brochure for its ‘Art Connects Us’ brochure. Printed by Empree on Olin Regular Absolute White 120gsm & 224gsm, supplied by Antalis, the substrate was selected primarily for its premium feel and ability to hold vibrant print colour, including fluorescent inks.

‘My Heart Op: A Young Person’s Guide to Having Heart Surgery’ can be found here:

Themed around the ‘Mark Your Mark’ concept, the Antalis Review Awards 2017 are now open. Entrants are invited to submit design pieces that have been printed on Antalis’ vast choice of paper stock between September 2016 and 4th July 2017, which is also the official closing date for entries. This will be followed by an entertainment-packed ceremony at the Flight Club, London on the 21st September. For more information please visit