The Butterfly Effect
On the 16 of September last year, in New York I went and got Flitty tattooed on my wrist. The tattoo represented my God daughter Carys and for me it symbolised a mixture of my hopes and dreams for Carys and all the girls I have come to know, but also most importantly my commitment to my cause, Rett syndrome. Which is perfect, because it is exactly what she was designed to do.
Flitty is something I am tremendously proud of; with all the designs I’ve done, none of them stand as high. In many ways her popularity took me by surprise. I expected people to like her; I never expected them to love her the way they did. In Flitty we created a symbol that people loved, to the point of tattooing it on their bodies. In 25 years of designing brands I have never had that honour (and I’ve worked on some big brands).
Well as they say the rest is history, and her history is that she has been tattooed on more people than I can count, she has been shared in paper, digital and movie form, she’s been on pins, decals, banners and flags. She’s covered the heart space of many a tee shirt, and will be worn on wrists eternally.
With this all in mind I wanted to explain what went into Flitty and why I believe she is special.
The birth of Flitty
The Butterfly effect is a chaos theory, about how one tiny action can snowball into something huge. It’s a big reason I chose to use a butterfly when I created our logo. I hoped we could be a charity that cared about the little stuff, so much so that it made big stuff happen.
The butterfly metaphor went so much deeper than that. The over-riding truth is that we all hoped our actions will be instrumental in helping people affected by Rett syndrome, enabling them to to live a life free of the boundaries of Rett. She represented our hope that one day we could be involved in beautiful change.
James and I spent a lot of time looking at images that were being shared by families and people affected by Rett syndrome, and we researched the top 100 charities in the UK, trying to understand the stuff that makes a great charity brand.
We knew we wanted her to symbolise the love we have for our girls, and I knew I wanted to compose her from meaningful icons. I wanted to make her easy to draw and memorable, so she could be made in snow, spray painted on walls and scratched out on beaches.
There are a few things that every person in the world can draw. A heart is one of them. So using the heart as the basis for Flitty was an informed decision.
We needed her to reflect our approach to care as well the cure, with blue for cure and pink for care. These colours are intrinsically connected to the psychology of colour and I wanted to make sure every detail was apt.
Where the pink and blue meet and overlap, it forms a little purple diamond. Purple is a colour that has for a long time been associated with Rett syndrome, that diamond is a little tribute to our history and all the great work that has brought us to where we are now.
Flitty is simple
She’s also not that simple; each wing heart is composed of multiple layers of colour and transparencies. Yeah it sounds silly, to achieve what is essentially a blue and pink gradient, but it’s not. I’ve always said it’s the little things that count and I still believe that is the case. The details are as important. It needs to be delicate, like a butterfly’s wing.
She needed to be designed so she could be a standalone in loads of other merchandise, like shirts, bands and pins. I needed her to be a strong silhouette, so she could always tell the story of connection no matter where we placed her. Whether that was on a Hard Rock poster or a scene from a Disney poster.
She needed to be delicate because she represents the delicate nature of Rett syndrome, how a perfectly healthy child can be in hospital in the next instant. She needed to be strong to represent the tower of will that, every day, is used to fight what Rett syndrome has stolen.
Flitty was a long, thoughtful, considered process, I like to think she was born and not created, but that’s just me wishing again.
So why am I telling you all this?
Recently I had two amazing shares; people are still tattooing Flitty on their body.
That is a very brave and committed decision, it’s also always going to be very special. They are tattooing their hope onto their skin, just like I did a year ago in New York. Flitty was born, born out of hope.
That got me thinking.
Flitty belongs to the people who have her tattooed on their skin, to the people that have her pinned on their bags or worn on their wrists. Those are the people who should be deciding her fate, those are the people who have the largest vested interest in Flitty. We (I include me) are the people who have her coloured into our skin for the rest of our lives.
Flitty is yours
Flitty has her own destiny, for anyone to use when they want to share their hope and their dreams and just talk about Rett syndrome. For all those people who have her tattooed on their skin, she has a permanent place, where she can never be set aside.
Since I sent a request out for Flitty tattoos from facebook page, 4 new people have since decided to get her tattooed on their skin. I know, I don’t have even a quarter of all the original ones, unfortunately they have been deleted. If I had known I would have saved them.
If you want to add to the wall, please send me your picture 😉 and if you know someone with a Flitty tattoo, then please, please, please ask them to get in touch.
All of Flitty’s resource files are available on request. As soon as I have time I will add them as a download to that page, but if you’re looking for something in the meantime, please contact me.
To quote one of my favourite songs.
I’ve got you under my skin
I’ve got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me
I’ve got you under my skin
A little movie we made of Flitty some time ago: Click here
To see the album : Click here