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Tough Stuff Journal

Interactive diary for children suffering loss

a dozen eggs, together with Pete English created the Tough Stuff journal for At A Loss. A charitable organisation that comes alongside those who have suffered a bereavement or loss in their family or friends. They asked us to design and develop workbooks that could be used with children who’s parents had recently gone through a separation or divorce, or those who were suffering bereavement. Existing booklets were often smartly printed and professional to look at. But, this actually made it harder for the children and young people to engage with them – and far too pressurised to write on!

Tough Stuff booklet

With this in mind, we decided to go in completely the opposite direction. At A Loss trusted us to make it work. Taking inspiration from the current wave of reflective colouring books and interactive diaries, we wanted to create a book that was ‘made to be destroyed’. At the forefront of our minds was that meeting the needs of the client is the most important part of any design. Deliberately simple hand drawn artwork, instructions to mess up pages, and a cheaper matt paper rather than a glossy brochure. All made the Tough Stuff journal less intimidating and encouraged the users to engage with it.

Tough stuff journal designed by a dozen eggs


The young audience also meant there we had a free rein on creativity. So we came up with a range of activities to guide them through the experience of exploring and coming to terms with their emotions. Some pages could be serious, others were deliberately silly. Lots of space was left for the children to write, colour, stick and even tear up the pages. All without the pressure of needing to keep the book looking nice. This was an unusual project for us, but so enjoyable to make. The kids who have been giving feedback really like it too!

Tough stuff journal for At a loss, support people who have experience loss.
It was so satisfying to work with Michelle.  She really understood my vision and took all my crazy ideas, condensed them down, listened to me when I didn’t think I made sense and produced something that has helped many hundreds of young people.

Pete English - Author

Purchase a Tough Stuff Journal

You can purchase a Tough Stuff journal by navigating to the At a Loss website using the link below or email us and we will put you in touch with Pete, the creator.

buy the journal