Hypochondriac Survival Kit Takes Style Cues from 1800’s Snake Oil Charmers

Design & Architecture

Self-diagnosis inspires a young designer to deal with a cultural quirk

Ross Brooks
  • 24 july 2014

Self-diagnosis might sound like a good idea, but with the staggering number of different diseases on the Internet, it’s easy to turn into a hypochondriac, or someone who worries obsessively over their health. If that happens, you might need the hypochondriac survival kit created by Flora Cruells Benzal. Inspired by the snake oil charmers of the 1800’s, it has all sorts of cures for “diseases” that will probably turn out to be nothing.

Housed inside an old-school leather doctor’s bag, there are cures for pink eye, skin redness, along with essentials such as cough syrup, latex gloves, and even a hammer!? As she explains on her Behance profile:

Instead of going for a contemporary look, I decided to design a throw back to the 1800’s and their snake oil charmers; the ones that would come to remote towns in order to sell their magic medicines that would cure all kinds of illness.

The logo itself also draws on the era, and has been paired old fashioned medical illustrations that were also used in gray’s anatomy. This helps to make the kit more convincing, but also adds a certain visual appeal. All of the graphics were printed using vellum, which also provided a bit of bleeding to add a distressed finish.

Benzal wanted the whole thing to be fairly tongue-in-cheek:

All the labels are tagged with their appropriate contents, but they also have a little tagline as a pun (for example, the Eye Drops are to be used in case of Pink Eye…but that could also be a sign for Glaucoma! The Sunscreen is to be used for skin redness… but it also could be a sign for Melanoma!)

So while the government-approved advice is to go and see your doctor for anything you’re unsure about, you could always hit the Internet first, work yourself up into a panic, and then buy one of these amazing hypochondria survival kits. Just to be clear, they aren’t available to buy, but no doubt there would be a market for something along these lines.

Flora Cruells Benzal

Images via Behance

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