I’ve long felt that designs you see around Brunei are dated. Heck, I’m one to talk — I only recently flattened the design of this here website! So I think the Ministry of Health should be applauded for the design of their posters promoting Bru-HIMS and the Health Promotion Centre.

I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos; I couldn’t find their digital versions. If anyone knows how I can get them let me know!


Bru-HIMS is the newer computer-based system which powers Brunei’s healthcare replacing the older (presumably less efficient) system. All patients have to register with the new Bru-HIMS system and receive a new patient number and card. So naturally you’re going to have to inform the population of 450,000 or so people.

Here are the posters plastered around the country. The English version is on the left, the Malay version is on the right.

bru-hims-ad-english bru-hims-ad-malay

Right off the bat you know the posters need to be legible and readable because they are promoting something new. People are going to have questions and the posters need to handle the most common of them: Who, What Where, Why, When, How. The poster even addresses patients who may ask What’s in it for me? (shorter waiting times, eliminate problems of lost records). Text is sectioned nicely into blocks each with a bold, clear and concise headline. The overall visual design is clean which ensures the design does not detract from legibility or readability.

All in all, an excellent job.

A few things I would have tweaked:

  1. Darker shade for the headlines. Posters are going to be exposed to different lighting conditions (natural light, tungsten, fluorescent etc…) Although I didn’t have trouble reading the posters under natural light, and although I can’t be sure, my gut tells me the current colour used for headlines is a smidgen to light. But I would test this theory out first.
  2. A more consistent wave function. I think the designers were going for a heartbeat wave which, unless I’m mistaken, has a more consistent wave form. The wave used on the poster looks more like a one created by a seismograph.
  3. Re-write the 1-2-3 list. Under the How? section you’ll see a list of 3 items which reads like a 3-step process. Upon closer inspection, it is actually a list of 3 different ways to register. Simply adding “3 ways to register:” before the list would suffice.
  4. Re-write overlapping information. The Important Notice and How? sections contain overlapping information which could potentially confuse readers. I would add a sub-heading under How? that reads “Please bring your IC. If you are registering for family members, bring a copy of their IC.”
  5. Make contact information more legible. The email address in the bottom-right hand corner is nearly invisible.
  6. Re-flow some text. The top two headlines could easily fit on 1 line if the font size was bumped down a little. I’ll give the designers the benefit of the doubt and believe that would have made the text too small. But the What is Bru-HIMS? sub-heading could easily be adjusted to span both columns of text.

Health Promotion Centre: Going Social


Love that flat design. Big, bold use of colour and icons catch attention. Social media links could have been a bit more legible. I’m thinking pure white.

Eat Healthy! Don’t Smoke!

brunei-health-promotion-centre-eat-healhty brunei-health-promotion-centre-no-smoking

These posters were only done in Malay but I love how the plain colours really stand out when placed next to each other. Big bold text for the No Smoking signs (which translates into “it stinks!”) almost smacks you on the head. I also like how they rephrased the $150 fine by saying “you just saved yourself $150”. Very playful but also very striking.

Old-School Poster by GlaxoSmithKline

Amidst all this talk of modern design trend, I still love the full-body richness of older designs. I recently watched a video called WTF Happened to Movie Posters? which touches on how much more original older movie posters were compared to their newer counterparts.

While walking the halls in RIPAS hospital, I spotted this gem:


Wow, they really don’t make them like this anymore. Not that they should but there is a level of detail that older posters have that younger designers can learn from.