Oasis is a product that allows anyone to test their own water. I worked with Oasis to create packaging that can be easily understood in multiple languages, as well as being accessible to non-reading users.


Arjun Bir,
CEO @ Oasis
Summer 2016


Graphic Design


John Pascarella

Oasis is a single-use disposable test that checks water for E. coli contamination.

The design needed be made thoughtfully to be instantly understandable in both English and Hindi. More importantly, it needed uncompromised usability for non-reading users.

A photo of the test being used.

The Oasis test in use. Two orange bags indicates water that is not contaminated. © 2018 Oasis



Oasis needed a simple logo and primary color to represent their brand and its dedication to clean water.


The Oasis water test is packaged inside a tube, which doubly functions as part of the test. The tube needed an outer design that identified the product and instructed users on how to use it.


Inside the tube, the bags used for the test need to include warnings to avoid improper and potentially dangerous use. They also needed instructions for interpreting test results and improving water safety.

The logo was designed using a simple, clean aesthetic, with a water droplet replacing the 'O' in "Oasis". The blue-green color was chosen to inspire thoughts of fresh, clean water.

Visual communication

The primary tool I used for the outer instructions were illustrations. Despite including written directions, the visuals needed to tell a full story on their own. Through countless iterations with the client, we landed on a simple set of five illustrations describing how to operate the test.

Interpreting results

Having access to a water test isn't enough, users need to be able to understand what the results mean. The test is simple — after filling the bags with water, they change color, indicating if the water is safe. I created a set of four illustrations explaining what the various bag colors mean.

Keeping water clean

In the case of contaminated water, affected uses have certain strategies they can use to keep their water safe. Primarily, they can boil their water, keep it covered, and wash their hands often. On the back side of the interpreting card, these illustrations help users control the cleanliness of their water.

Safe usage

The Oasis water test works by allowing E. coli to reproduce in large numbers, making the presence of even one bacterium cause a positive test result. However, this means that the test needs to be operated with extreme care. Illustrations printed on the test bags warn users against practices that could cause danger or inaccurate results.

Some photos of the test.

Oasis' impact:

Change in Kanpur

In January 2017, researchers deployed 3,000 Oasis tests in Kanpur, India, a region affected by severe poverty and lack of resources. They provided no intervention support aside from the suggestions listed inside the test.

After only one month with Oasis, mean E. coli counts in Kanpur dropped by an astonishing 40%.

Researchers observed positive behavioral outcomes as well, seeing improvements in covered storage usage and hand soap availability.

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Oasis' impact:

Water in the Mumbai slums

Oasis is being used by researchers in a study seeking to improve slum residents' access to clean water.

"We chose to use the Oasis test because it came highly recommended from fellow researchers and because it was well-packaged and easy to use. Our survey enumerators who had no prior experience with water quality testing were trained in the use of the test and have been able to use the test easily."

— Dr. Anjali Thomas Bohlken, Georgia Tech

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Oasis' impact:

Hands-on education

Students at the Atlanta Girl's School used Oasis to learn about water quality hands-on, learning about Oasis' story from CEO Arjun Bir.

"The instructions were clear and my students were able to interpret the results effortlessly. Additionally, the color change was exciting for students to witness and increased buy-in and interest in the results. I am so glad we were able to bring the Oasis Tests to my students."

— Melissa Hankinson, Science Department Chair

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A photo of the test being used.

Sparking behavior change in Kanpur © 2018 Oasis

"A designer with outstanding skill and a tremendous temperament, John brought the Oasis test to life in a way that I didn't imagine possible. He listened to me carefully, but was not afraid to disagree when he had an idea that made the design better. He has worked hard, displayed admirable financial integrity, and has been a great person to work with! This man has been a blessing! Going straight to him next time something comes up!"

— Arjun Bir, CEO @ Oasis

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