Promundo
The Man Box

Challenge

In 2017 Promundo and Axe, Unilever’s leading male grooming brand, launched The Man Box report, a study on young men’s attitudes, behaviors and understanding of manhood. The research, conducted in the US, UK and Mexico, revealed that most men still feel pushed to live in the “Man Box” – a rigid construct of cultural ideas about male identity that cause real harm to themselves and to those around them. The findings of this study were so strong, consistent and alarming that Promundo and Axe partnered again in 2019 to estimate the economic costs of these harmful stereotypes about masculinity. This resulted in the report The Cost of the Man Box.

Blossom was asked, for both editions of the report, to develop a distinctive visual identity able to convey the main findings of these studies.

 

Concept

The “Man Box” is a rigid set of cultural ideas about male identity, including being self-sufficient, acting tough, looking physically attractive, sticking to rigid gender roles, being heterosexual, having sexual prowess and using aggression to resolve conflicts.

Blossom developed a creative concept supported by an illustrative approach to depict this construct.

For the Man Box, we designed a man’s head inside a man’s head, as a matryoshka, showing the concept of being prisoner of self-referential stereotypes. The style itself recalls the masculine universe, blending old with new world aesthetics: customized handwriting in capital letters, dark background, a not too well shaved beard.

For the Cost of the Man Box, the visuals needed to convey the idea of the overwhelming costs that these cultural constructs cause to men themselves – in addition to illustrating the box of which men’s head are prisoners. This resulted in a man crumpled into an invisible cage from which he should try to escape. The man has a square head, and he is voluntarily misshaped to put the accent on the weight, the price he has to pay for being constricted into the Man Box.

Although the overall style is different, this second illustration is based on a similar colour palette as the previous one to grant continuity among the two reports.

 

Delivery

Blossom developed the design and layout of the Man Box full report in English and Spanish, the 3 versions of the Cost of the Man Box (United States, Unite Kingdom and Mexico studies), and the summary report. In addition to developing the cover and template layout for both reports, we consistently designed all the related icons, graphs and chapter dividers.

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