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21GRAMS + Black & Brown Skin

Ignorance is malignant. Change skin cancer care and prevention.

D&AD Competition| 1.5 months| Brand Campaign and Technological Solution | Competition + Spec


Who is 21GRAMS?

An agency that specializes in health. Driven by ambition to make healthcare more inspiring, they believe that creative solutions that help solve healthcare issues can make a huge impact.

The Ask:

Develop an idea that not only raises awareness of skin cancer, specifically melanoma, in People of Color around the globe, but also helps to drive diagnosis to allow people to receive the treatments they need.

My Role: 

  • Mapped out our hypotheses that led to areas we decided to explore with the target users interviews

  • Conducted 10 interviews, opportunity mapping and a user story 

  • Mapped out the barriers that helped narrow down the goals and solution

  • With the help of the team's XD, we modeled a prototype

  • Tested the prototype with the our initial interviewees 

The Situation: 

Melanoma isn’t the most common type of cancer, but it is the most deadly version of skin cancer making up only 1% of skin cancer diagnoses and kills the most, especially when it comes to POC.  


If detected early it is the most treatable...the survival rate of skin cancer is around 91% for White people. But we see the survival rate plummet to 65% for Black people. 

The Problem:

Skin cancer is viewed as a "white person" problem

While having more melanin in your skin makes you less likely to get melanoma, it makes you more likely to die from it. POC view their darker skin as natural sun protection giving them a  false sense of security since they have more melanin and believe that protects them.

The Insight:

The two major pain points that POC and Black people encounter are:

  • Lack of trust in the dermatology community often fueled by bias from white doctors

  • Lack of resources to educate those in the black community about skin damage


This two-fold problem contributes to the majority of POC not being exposed to or taught about skincare prevention early on. This leads  them to perceive their own risk to be low. This all leads to de-prioritizing skin prevention and catching melanoma when it’s too late. 


Don’t leave your life to chance. Fate is an illusion. You have the power to prevent melanoma.



Melanin doesn’t prevent melanoma, you do

You have the power to change your fate and prevent melanoma. The earlier you catch melanoma, the greater chance you have of surviving it.  

Solution: Early Detection 

Through creating a human-centered designed app BlackAndBrownSkin in collaboration with 21GRAMS can help those in the Black community not only build trust but confidence when it comes to skin cancer prevention and education. This tool will monitor skin damage in a way that is unique to dark skin- a heat detection monitor that can show areas for potential sun burn after sun exposure.


Our goal is to build a tool that encourages community engagement around melanoma prevention and provide a library of educational resources.   

The Current State of Skin Cancer Prevention:  

Skin cancer prevention isn't innovating enough for POC and the Black community

Market Conditions

Develop an idea that not only raises awareness of skin cancer, specifically melanoma, in people of color around the globe, but also helps to drive diagnosis to allow people to receive the treatments they need.

Value Drivers

People are using sunscreen but more for cosmetic and aesthetic reasons as people are scared of aging .  


Most of the products and services with regards to skin prevention have been marketed towards white/fairer skin with a few brands innovating through products specifically designed and made for darker skin. 

Business Opportunity

21GRAMS and Black & Brown Skin has been spearheading initiatives to raise awareness of skin care issues . POC and have a POV that helps address systemic disparities and are in the right place to help create change. 


Skin cancer is colorblind and want to bring awareness to not only the users but the industry as a whole that includes cosmeticians and medical professionals.  


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Kayla, 22

Kayla is just about to finish her college degree. Her parents live in Florida having moved to the United States from Senegal 25 years ago. She  loves swimming, hiking and hanging out with friends at the beach. She has been in the swimming team ever since she was in high school. She uses the health app on her phone/apple watch to stay fit and track her training. Her first visit to the dermatologist was when she noticed acne back in high school, but she has since started following other People of Color influencers on Youtube to keep track of the various ways she can improve her skincare routine. She recently started using sunscreen especially on the summer months and as she recently learned, to help reduce her hyperpigmentation from acne.

*Based off of our 10 in-depth interviews with POC, opportunity mapping, empathy mapping, and qual/quant research we created a user story to highlight an extreme user case*

The Future State of Skin Cancer Prevention

There's an opportunity to break down racial disparities in not just the medical field but society to bring more inclusivity to skin care prevention 

Market Conditions

Rise of social justice initiatives to address and ultimately create a more inclusive and diverse society. 

Value Drivers

Link skin care to not only beauty but something larger, their life. We want people to live in the know and recognize the signs of skin cancer on darker skin.  


Everyone, anyone that has skin which is the human race. 

Business Opportunity

Brands and medical communities can be educated on how skin cancer looks on various skin types and use that knowledge/ education to innovate new products and services. This will provide resources that help not only raise awareness but educate both users and the skin care industry. 


Provide a technological resource and database where POC can be educated, feel empowered, and inspire others to bring attention to skin cancer with POC.  

How we're going to get there: Get UNFATED

A campaign and mobile app that encourages early detection by putting the power to prevent melanoma in your hands. Melanoma doesn't have to be your fate and you can change your future by bringing awareness to yourself and others. 

Ad Campaign:

Educational Awareness + Call to Action

Through a traditional OOH and social campaign we will build awareness around the issue of melanoma. The campaign Get UNFATED will feature tarot card and astrology imagery to target a young Black audience. Within each ad there will be messaging that emphasis early detection and diagnosis. The ads will ultimately be a call to action for a technological solution that people can download to help educate, empower, create trust, and ultimately help change behavior. 


Change Perception and Behavior

This is where human-centered design will come into play through an app that will help to build trust, educate, monitor, talk to others, and provide resources. POC have the opportunity to be educated on skin cancer prevention, feel empowered, and inspire others to bring attention to melanoma. 

Ad Campaign: Educational Awareness + CTA

OOH Advertisements

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OOH Comps


Utilization: Change Perception and Behavior

How can we help POC and those in the Black community feel trust in their skin cancer prevention journey and provide informative resources about melanoma prevention?

The Goal:

Build a tool that encourages community engagement around melanoma prevention and provides a library of educational resources. 

How This Will Help Lack of Trust?

Give users something they can trust

Tech based tool

Health based app

Data on sun exposure in health app, warnings, and notifications

Measurement similar to walking distance

Similar to hearing data - warning for overexposure

How This Help Lack of Resources?

Pictures of what to look for 

Post pictures of what to look for

Have UV and heat detection

Give users a place where they can learn and feel empowered

Community Forum

Tool that takes pictures and monitors growth/change of a mole

Home Screen

The first thing users will see is the UV index for the day and the user’s sun exposure throughout the day. Based on the UV index, user location, and amount of sun exposure the app will suggest whether the user should do a skin check. 

UV index based on location and geo-targeting so the user knows how strong the UV rays are

Current exposure outside & suggestions for when to take a break or re-apply sunscreen

Based on the UV index, profile information, and amount of sun exposure the app will suggest whether the user should do a skin check 

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Sunburned areas the user is currently monitoring

Personal info such as physical traits and hobbies to help curate a personalized experience

Skin Check Monitor

Through the user’s phone camera they would be able to check their skin for sun burns based on temperature of the skin as darker skin tends to show less signs of red pigmentation. The app will also suggest areas to treat and monitor for sun burns to help user’s know where to check. Unlike white skin, dark skin does not change to a pink or red pigment after a sunburn.   

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Since darker skin shows less red pigmentation, temperature detection can inform the user of a sunburn

Use your phone camera to check skin for burns based on skin temperature and heat detection

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Suggested areas to treat and monitor for a sunburn

Severity of burn to inform the user on right type of treatment and monitoring

Community Forum

Within the app users can interact with others and have a place where they can not only show but discuss pictures of their skin. There's an image library that users have access to where they can see pictures of minor, moderate to severe skin damage. 

This helps not only create conversation but builds trust to help people feel empowered and more educated about how to monitor potential sun damaged skin areas. 

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Pictures of minor to severe burns to educate users

Discussion thread to help users converse, build trust, empower and educate themselves

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Save images to reference or use as education

Wearable Compatibility

With our target user spending a lot of time outside we wanted to make the app compatible with tech wearables such as Apple Watch or FitBit that have the biometric technology that is directly on the user and can detect temperature changes on the skin in real time. If the wearable detects any major change in temperature it'll recommend a skin check and take them to the app on the phone. 

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UX/UI Flow

Add personal information  

Add hobbies and lifestyle information  

Edit or add new hobbies

Open App

Post Sun Exposure



Skin Check

Search Photos

View Comments

Use camera to detect sunburns

Treat and monitor areas detected as burns

Add/Save Threads for Reference

User Testing

We tested the app with 5 POC to get a better understanding, indicate, and test against these parameters:

Usability + Ease of Use


Empowerment + Education

Communal Recommendation

What Users Said

“I like the reminders and how adds that level of urgency to check your skin and put on sunscreen or get out of the sun for a little bit. Also the concept and design are sleek, simple and easy to navigate.”

“I love that you can see what other people look like, having that would 

make me feel better and calm me down.” 

Showing the severity of the burn and the importance of it would help me decide if it’s a big deal and whether I should go see a doctor and that’s a super helpful feature. The UV index and time spent in the sun also is a cool feature and would personally help me since I need to be conscious of my skin in the sun.” 

Love the ideas of areas to monitor, helps to hone down where to look and is specific to your body and skin type” 

“The community aspect of the app is what excites me most, I think it’s something that is unique and very interactive and educational. I think it would definitely help start the conversation in the Black community around skin cancer.” 

Moving Forward

Based on our user testing we want to add these features on in the future 






Add additional design elements to make it pop and feel modern. 

Think about the accuracy of the heat detection, maybe having instructions on waiting 5 - 10 minutes after getting inside to get an accurate temperature and result of a potential sunburn.

Have doctors and professional on there that users can talk to and get advice to make sure that no false information is being spread but also making sure that the community views these health professionals as friends.

Make the filtering system more specified when looking at the library of images to make sure that users find the pictures that are most relevant to them.

Having an education tab, place on the app, or visuals that help users understand information: ie. of this is letting users know exactly the UV index means and how it affects them.

Strategy Team

Cat Marsh: Strategist

Lucy Mungo: Strategist

UX Team

Allison Moody: Experience Designer

Creative Team

Courtney Robinson: Copywriter

Sydney Toler: Art Director

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