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The Butterfly Project

The Butterfly Project aims to open the dialogue about lupus, a complex autoimmune disease. By combining design and science, we have developed a tool to more easily visualize the health status of people with lupus. This tool takes the form of a butterfly, emblematic symbol of the disease!


The Butterfly Tool

Lupus, by its full name systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic inflammatory disease that requires regular visits to the doctor. During these visits, patients undergo physical examinations, answer questionnaires and submit blood samples for various laboratory tests. The results of all these tests are then noted into huge grids of numbers that are difficult to understand. We have therefore developed the butterfly tool in order to more easily visualize the medical situation of patients. Each butterfly represents a person with lupus.

Find out how to decode the butterflies!

What are the purposes of butterfly tool?

  • Educate people with lupus about their condition;
  • Better equip rheumatologists for follow-up with their patients;
  • Raise public awareness about lupus;
  • Help patients take ownership of their condition;
  • Facilitate communication between patients and their loved ones;
  • Involve patients more in research;
  • Bring a little lightness to the heaviness of the disease.

Why did we choose these colors?

Purple is the color of lupus awareness, and red is a color that tends to be associated with danger and warning. Thus, the redder the color, the more serious the condition.

Why is the butterfly the symbol of lupus?

One of the most recognizable symptoms of lupus is the malar rash across the nose and cheeks. Because of its unique shape, it is often called  the “butterfly rash”.

Learn more about the butterfly tool

Take a look at this poster for more information on the project!

Discover how the butterfly tool is making its place in the dataviz field with this blog post!

Learn more about lupus

For more information on the symptoms, treatments and management of lupus, visit the  Arthritis Society.

LUPUS: An Invisible Monster - Lupus UK

Living with Lupus - Lupus UK

What Is Lupus? - Lupus UK

Don't hesitate to contact us for more information!

If you are :

  • a person with lupus and want to get your butterfly;
  • a healthcare professional and you wish to use the butterfly tool;
  • a person with lupus or a healthcare professional wishing to collaborate with us;

Contact us, it will be a great pleasure to discuss with you!


Sandrine HUOT
Étudiante au doctorat
Université Laval



Chercheur régulier

Université Laval

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Chercheur régulier

Université Laval

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