Flow Communications

The history of anaesthesia in South Africa isn’t sleep-inducing. Trust us at Flow – we know.

We were tasked by a long-standing client, the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA), to assist with the design, editing and publishing of SASA 75 Years – 1993-2018, a book detailing the past 25 years of the society’s history.

Sasa Layout Mockup
The SASA book layout.

It was conceived as a companion publication to Five Decades – The South African Society of Anaesthesiologists 1943-1993, by Dr Nagin Parbhoo, SASA’s late archivist, to mark the society’s 75th anniversary.

The SASA team consisted of the society’s current archivist, Professor Peter Gordon, who was the principal writer, and his colleague Professor Pierre Fourie, as well as SASA CEO Natalie Zimmelman. The Flow team was made up of project manager Ros Caboz, designer Thuso Khoeli and editor Willem Steenkamp.

Peter and Pierre had researched and written the 25-year period of the book – a fascinating time in our country’s history, encompassing the 1994 elections and changes to virtually every facet of South African life, not least in the medical field – in painstaking detail.

And it was absorbing: the characters in anaesthesia (one of the most stressful fields in medicine), their passion for their vocation, advances in anaesthesia, navigating the post-1994 political and medical landscape, how SASA transformed itself from a largely part-time organisation into the professional body and lobbying powerhouse that it is today …

From the outset the SASA and Flow teams coalesced well, which made for a smooth, enjoyable process.

“What a pleasure it has been to work with the professional and dedicated team at SASA on the 75-year book: Natalie ably overseeing the project, with great written content and material supplied by both Peter and Pierre,” says Ros.

“The Flow team of Thuso, who produced a lovely, clean design, and Willem, who did superb editing, both contributed to produce a quality book in time for SASA’s 75-year celebrations. We are very happy to know that it was well received and appreciated by the SASA membership.”

“Producing a book can be an unpleasant experience, because it’s finicky, repetitive work and people’s egos can get in the way of everything,” adds Willem.

“But this one was a pleasure, because everyone brought their A game and checked their egos at the door. As a professional experience, it’s turned out to be one of the best I’ve had – and I’m very pleased at how beautifully the book turned out.”

And it is beautiful, thanks to Thuso’s design, which incorporates the poppy in SASA’s coats of arms, as well as its corporate colours of green and orange.

“The thinking was the use of the poppy plant and associating it with the anaesthetic profession as a graphic element. We investigated various styles of executing this element, before we got to the one that we felt best represents SASA’s corporate identity,” says Thuso.

“Overall, we modernised the look and feel of the CI and applied it to the design of the book. We deliberately used sans-serif fonts throughout for easy reading and consumption of the information. Secondary colours, like the orange and green, were used to differentiate information and thus create hierarchy.”

We delivered the book at the beginning of April, just in time for SASA’s annual congress in Cape Town. And it went down very well with the anaesthesiologists in attendance.

“Heard a lot of positive comments about the book today. From my side a big thank-you as well. It was a privilege to work with you all!” Pierre told us from the sidelines of the congress.

Natalie also wrote to Ros: “The book has been unbelievably well received by the SASA membership, with many asking for signed copies, multiple copies, requests to be allowed to quote the book and just general appreciation.

“The hard work of Peter and Pierre was so ably polished and supported by you, Willem, Thuso and the team at Flow. We cannot express our appreciation enough for the dedication, effort and skill you applied to this project.”

To which SASA’s immediate past president, Dr Dirk van Zijl, added: “Hear, hear! The book has, in my opinion, exceeded expectations!”

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