Manchester Children's Hospital Queezies


If there’s one thing that everyone could agree on, is that hospital visits aren’t pleasant (putting it politely). They always have that cold and clinical appearance (not forgetting the funky smell) that makes the visit even more depressing (not that having a broken leg is depressing enough), and it must be a hundred times worse for children who are too young to understand the importance or necessity of their visit.


But all of a sudden the Big Cat design studio became very interested in hospitals when Hammo, Jeremy Tankard and Hemisphere (design & marketing consultancy) jazzed up the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital with their new project, “The Queezies”. Who knew that hospitals could look so lively? So we had a look at the story behind it to discover how and why they chose these particular quirky mascots…


The story begins where the hospital ward was moved from being in a separate dingy Victorian building to a new bright and spacious one. All of a sudden they realised that the lack of decoration made the hospital seem quite large and alien to a young child and there was a lack of things for children to do. That’s when inspiration struck – what would it look like if aliens inhabit the hospital?


Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital is now complete with an array of vivid alien characters (brought to life in true Hammo fashion) named after notable Manchester scientists and engineers dotted around each ward. Typographer Jeremy Tankard adds the finishing touch by creating the alien alphabet that mimics children’s handwriting, writing annotations on walls and on beds.


                                     Manchester Children's Hospital Day Case BedManchester Children's Hospital Day Case Chair

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What strikes us at Big Cat is that everything was taken into consideration – whether it’s a Queezie poking their nose through a door window or climbing through the air vents, they’ve brought the space to life and made the hospital an enjoyable and animated experience for any poorly child. We couldn’t figure out what came first – the illustrations or the interior decor – as everything fits together perfectly and there aren’t any gaps between the cupboards and the walls. This hospital is a perfect example of interactive design furthered by the Spaceship competition where they have adorned the top 9 designs done by the children on consultants’ doors. 


This project is a great example of reminding us, as designers, the importance of designing for the end-user and not the client. If Hemisphere hadn’t taken note of the patient’s needs, then the hospital wouldn’t look as vibrant nor interact as well as it does now. Positive reaction-focused design really is the only kind of successful design! 

                                                   Manchester Childrens Hospital Door

Mancheter Childrens Hospital Wall

Manchester Children's Hospital Daycase Mural

Manchester Children's Hospital Waiting Room

Manchester Children's Hospital Thumbprick

Manchester Children's Hospital Day Case

Posted by: Greta Baker on