Innovative plan aims to get girls thinking about science

Dublin design studio HyperBrow won EU pitch to create Stem subjects campaign

HyperBrow’s Simone Smyth (left) and Sorcha Delaney

HyperBrow’s Simone Smyth (left) and Sorcha Delaney


Are you a maker? An explorer? A thinker? All of the above? A new European Union campaign that aims to get more young girls interested in science has been created by Dublin design and digital studio HyperBrow and was launched yesterday under the slogan Expect Everything.

HyperBrow, run by the design partnership of Simone Smyth and Sorcha Delaney, last year won a competitive procurement pitch for the branding, design and web development for the Hypatia project campaign, which is aimed at 13- to 18-year-old girls and bids to boost their participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem).

Expect Everything takes over from the Science: It’s a Girl Thing campaign – which went viral for the wrong reasons in 2012.

Launched yesterday, this latest initiative from Hypatia project (named after the Greek mathematician, astronomer and philosopher) will run for three years across 14 countries.

The Smithfield-based HyperBrow team won the EU tender following its work on a microsite for Science Gallery Dublin.

“Every part of this project aims to make the target demographic think,” says Simone Smyth of HyperBrow.

“This project needs to prove to young girls that their prospects are endless, much like the presentation of the material provided to them.”

The Expect Everything brand identity features an infinity icon, which is meant to symbolise the infinite possibilities for young girls and their prospects in Stem.

Tone of voice being critical to campaigns such as these, Expect Everything aims to speak the language of teenagers, without underestimating or patronising them.

“This is not a case of – do you like science? It’s a case of what type of intelligent young person are you? We are asking young people to examine the way they think, particularly girls, which will ultimately bring out their strengths,” says Smyth.

An online quiz is used to get girls thinking – “Am I a maker? An explorer . . . or thinker?”– which Smyth says is intended to bring out people’s core strengths. The campaign also invites girls to interact and contribute as writers and editors to the Expect Everything blog and social media accounts Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo and Tumblr.”

The Hypatia project will have a reach of more than 50,000 teachers and 250,000 teenagers.

“Statistically speaking, girls have been proven to outperform boys in school and yet they are under-represented in all these subjects,” says Sorcha Delaney, who came from an engineering background before entering a design industry in which men are estimated to outnumber women by three to one.

“Having qualified and worked as an electronic engineer, I can relate to the lack of females studying these third- level subjects. I was the only girl in a class of 60 in DIT and that could sometimes be challenging,” she says.

The Hypatia project campaign is a big win for Smyth and Delaney. As well as creating microsites for the Science Gallery’s Secret and Trauma exhibitions, their clients include Amnesty International, Newstalk and the 2015 marriage referendum campaign Yes Equality.