A Gap Too Far

Our editorial illustration project wasn't quite over when we finished the three illustrations in the brief. I paired up with Tasha Wilkinson, and we both acted as each other's art directors. She sent me an article about health inequality in New Scientist, in which Michael Marmot explains that "It's a complex problem to fix, but we must do it."

The article already had an illustration, but Tasha didn't like it. When I asked why, she said it didn't capture the tone of the article and she believed I could do a better job. I began to research the Glasgow effect: a 2008 report showed that a boy in the deprived area of Calton had a life expectancy of 54 years, whereas a boy in East Dunbartonshire, under 8 miles away, had a life expectancy of 82. There are many famous cases of individuals being effected by health inequality, but I didn't want to emphasise one above the others.

I toyed with the idea of illustrating a map of Glasgow and highlighting the areas mentioned, but not being from there I found that to be too research intensive. Instead, I focused on increasing gaps. Many concepts came up, but the idea of Mind The Gap, and hands slipping away seemed the strongest. I decided to combine the two. There was still something missing.

I still had images of poverty and deprived neighbourhoods in my mind, and I went scrolling through my own photographs in search of inspiration. I came across these brutalist tower-blocks from Ladywood, Birmingham. People associate brutalism with poverty, and I don't always think this is right, but in this case it works.