Re-imagining Pain Communi­cation

By Amy van den Hooven

This is a research through design project that aims to improve the way that we both communicate and understand pain. Chronic pain involves a complex and unique story for each person, making it crucial that we are able to both send and receive messages that communicate one’s pain. Through collaboration with people who live with chronic pain, medical professionals, therapists, designers and artists, this project re-imagines a tool kit for pain communication. The tool kit holds various objects, providing a visual, tactile and symbolic language for those struggling to articulate their pain. It is a tool that fosters a collaborative and narrative approach to understanding, communicating and treating one’s pain.

In addition to the development of the tool kit, this project aims to create a greater conversation about chronic pain that can shift the way we understand pain towards a direction that embraces its complexity. The design outcome focuses on providing a vision for the “The Clinic of the Future” where the use of this tool kit is at the center of the service provided.

Learn more about the project outcomes:
Project Overview
The Clinic of the Future
Tool Kit: The Making


Designing for change is at the core of Amy’s design work. Her background in design started at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, where she studied environmental design. During her time at KMD, Amy has become a multidisciplinary designer that seeks to take a collaborative design approach in tackling complex issues related to health and well-being. Whether Amy is collaborating to design something intangible, like a service or system, or tangible, like a space or object, creating a discourse that can lead to positive change is Amy’s ultimate goal as a designer.

Portrait picture of Amy van den Hooven