Menstruation. A natural, physiological process that often remains too taboo for private discussion yet ignites so many global social issues. On the one hand, there is period-poverty, which affects those who don’t have access to adequate hygiene facilities and safe menstrual products; on the other hand, single-use products, such as tampons and sanitary towels, together with their packaging, generate more than 200,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste annually.
In 2018, in support of the growing movement to destigmatise and dignify periods, the Mesačnica project was created. It sought to open a dialogue on the use of healthier and more sustainable menstrual products which were, at the time, not very popular or accessible on the Slovak market. The main focus was to fill-in the current gap in information by creating an educational website, an e-shop, social media accounts, and printed promo materials that would deliver a clear and concise, illustrated guide to reusable products.
In order to challenge the typical, embellished pink graphics that reinforce stereotypes, the branding was meant to embody a more truthful representation of menstruation. The natural connection between the lunar cycle and the menstrual cycle is visualised and conceptualised through the symbolic portrayal of the Lunaria plant.
The main elements were conceived as an overlap of geometric shapes extracted from three sources: the menstrual cup, the phases of the moon, and the yoni symbol, all of which are embodied in the physiology of the Lunaria. Its central alignment and mirrored symmetry further enhance the depiction of the balancing nature of monthly cycles.
To steer away from the scientific appearance of blue liquid being poured onto a sanitary towel, which used to occur in mainstream advertising, the core colour of the Mesačnica design is red, honouring both menstrual blood and primal life forces. Furthermore, the colour palette contains black, which stands for intimacy and nocturnal slow-down, along with shades of pastel blue to convey safety and comfort.
Mesačnica continues to develop more tools that advocate for body literacy. Its lunar calendar is designed to promote a positive relationship with one’s menstrual cycle through the ritual of monthly chart-making, learning about the patterns and observing whether there is a correlation with the lunar cycle. This works by means of a circular layout, offering the possibility to colour-in the days of menstruation and any other observable cyclical signs, such as ovulation or PMS. If the calendar is used regularly, a personalized visual representation of one’s cycle appears in the form of a mandala.author of the text: Martina Dybová