Client

Class Project

Date Released

2016-2017

Disciplines

Branding

Print

Photography

UX/UI

Web Design

The OK Collective

For this project, the task was to create a design system involving branding, print. mobile, and touch point design. The popular choice was to create a brand and then design print assets around it. I, however, wanted to design for something that really interested me. After much thinking, I decided upon a subject that's near and dear to my heart: mental illness and the stigma that still surrounds it.

The Problem

Compared to what it was like in the past few generations, the understanding and destigmatization of mental illness has made great strides. However, there is still a lot of catching up to do. In our society, there are more and more people feeling alienated, depressed, anxious, and generally more people getting diagnosed with mental illnesses because of our improved understanding of them. Nearly everyone knows someone with a mental illness or has one themselves, but a lot of people still don't know how to give support to those struggling, or even have more than a general understanding of it. How can we support mental health and each other in a way that isn't impersonal and strictly medical?

Research

After researching general information about mental illness, how it's viewed in society, how it is medically treated, and the impact is has on people who have it and don't have it, I focused the project on three types of users: A young person with mental illness who wants to feel supported and educate others to better understand mental illness, a loved one of a person with mental illness who wants to better understand the topic, and an educator/healthcare professional who can use this project as a mental health resource.

User Interviews

Qualitative Findings
  • Breaking the Barrier: The US Surgeon General labeled stigma as one of the biggest barriers to mental healthcare
  • Not Like the Others: Social distancing occurs when people with mental issues are more isolated from others
  • The Importance of Education: Misinformation about mental illness and its treatment can lead to the development of stigma, discriminatory practices, and eventually low self-esteem and trouble accomplishing goals in patients who self-stigmatize their mental illness.
Quantitative Findings
  • A Common Mental Illness: 18% of the American population suffer from anxiety disorders
  • My Depression Has Anxiety: Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
  • The Kids Aren't Alright: 50% of lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14

The Solution

After discovering the roadblocks of getting mental health education and support, the solution I thought of was this: Create a book, and a campaign around the promotion of that book, that would focus on telling the stories of young people with mental illness. Personal interviews and photos would add a personal touch to the subject, while a web/social media presence would continue telling important stories beyond the book.

User Testing

Findings

Design

The style direction is clean, calm, personal, and imagery focused. Its purpose is to be focused on the stories and photography rather than a bright, flashy design. While the overall design needed to be attractive (something that people want to look at), the content was the heart of it all.

The interviews are split up into 2 parts: the first part is a photo of the interviewee and a quote from the interview, followed by the interview and a photo of an item that relates to their mental illness.

To promote the book, a poster and handouts were made.

To further connect with the book, a website was designed for users to tell their own stories, as well as social media for the community to come together.