GDE740 - Week 5

Week 5 – Workshop Challenge

Choosing a Brief:

CREATIVE CONSCIENCE : I previously knew about this brief and upon reading decided to set aside my preconcieved ideas of what it’s about. They focus on the idea of a Global Movement, I love this idea of togetherness and how, as a whole, we can help tackle these problems. They ask for “solutions and provocations that have the potential to provoke action and have a genuine impact” – I also like that this can be both conceptual or be developed into a real solution put into action. There’s such a stigma around mental health, no matter how big or small the problem, it’s both an optimistic and empowering brief which is so wide open… I feel this one has the most potential and I definitely have the most ideas for.

D&AD NEW BLOOD : This one really doesn’t appeal – it’s appearing to be more a promotion for Adidas than enhancing the power of sport. I know that sport it a vital part to anyone’s life and it can be a strong “catalyst for change”, be that mentally, physically or competitively. It’s aimed at 17-25 yr olds which automatically narrows down the opportunities and must consider a key city, using sports that have an established connection to Adidas.

LIVE COLLAB : You need here to choose an existing client or contact to collaborate together on a project with. Both York Mediale and York Design Week have started and about 6 months ago, this brief would have been perfect for me to go straight out of my comfort zone to create something for these festivals. For me, also, this brief seems way too open, and without a contact I can use I’d be spending most of my time trying to find someone!

SCIENCE MUSEUM : Ok, I love science, I love history and (gulp) I love the railway museum in York… BUT, do I want to spend my time looking into a speculative design for new forms of discovery the museums can use? Not particularly… Only because I feel quite constrained already by this brief. I could utilise it to develop my UI/UX skills but I just don’t feel particularly inspired or motivated by this brief. I’m proper excited though to see what others come up with for this! (Go trains woo)


Chosen Brief:

Creative Conscience

Upon reading all briefs again and much closer, I just feel such a connection to this brief. I think this year especially, with everything we’ve all had to go through, the statement “Negative experiences happen in all of our lives” is ever more relevant and I’ve spent this past year watching all the crap happen and seeing so many people going through so much, but everyone knows someone who’s had it worse. I think that’s been the major difficulty this year, that problems that would have otherwise been huge and difficult to deal with, pale in significance to people who have lost loved ones to Covid, or have missed cancer treatments, or have been working tirelessly on the front line.

We’ve also lost our face to face outlets where we can have a drink and a cry to our friends, we can only talk via Zoom or Skype to those that are dearest to us. We can’t travel to attend a family members funeral or can’t hug a grieving loved one. This year has stripped us of human contact, hugs and the ability to accept that our problems are still significant.

I also know that this year, therapy for a mental or physical illness has had to develop to become online – speaking to both therapists and those receiving help, Zoom therapy just isn’t the same. It could never be the same, there’s no insight into body language, the slight changes in intonation, the ability to be somewhere else in private and talk openly.

All of the above is why I have chosen this brief, it really hit a nerve with me and made me stop and think of all the things and people we could help. Be it speculative or real-life solutions, it’s all progress.


Competitive Context

Postcards from Isolation

I followed this instagram page back in May – it’s an ongoing series of interactive illustrations and experiences showing how our lives have changed since the start of Covid. It’s such a wonderful, funny, simple way of expressing feelings – they invite collaborations and submissions – creating an outlet for people to utilise in times of need. It’s such a beautiful way of bringing people together and I find it really powerful.

The Online Installation was launched by London based studio Sabato.Studio and is made up so far of 15 contributing artists. The postcards are animated and have a “pre” setting and “post” setting – “pre” is representative of life before lockdown and “post”, shows the impact of the change. It’s not always a negative change, some postcards reflect the new slowed down daily schedule and the “self-finding” some of us have done.

As postcards have always done, these represent a snapshot of time, a reflection of the recent cultural shift we’ve all had to experience whilst also being apart. It’s a positive campaign keeping us closer, working on something creative, taking our minds off things and representing a pretty crummy situation in a fresh new light.

I really love how this has developed over time – it was borne from a small idea at the start of lockdown before any of us knew how bad it could get. But it’s also legible across the world, we’re all going through this, why not share it together.


The Mental Health Coalition

Ok so this is Pentagram and it was a HUGE campaign. Their aim is to destigmatise mental health, the main reason for the creation of any mental health campaign. Everyone has felt like a square peg in a round hole at some point in their lives and recognise this feeling – that’s why I love their initial visuals for this campaign. It’s immediately recognisable and relatable. From this, they created the “How are you, really?” platform – a digital storytelling platform for individuals to share their experiences. It’s very video based – relying on people sending in videos explaining how they really are feeling. All this is great, but there’s a huge emphasis on celebrities such as Kim Kardashian etc – I feel that takes away from the “normal” humanisation that should be happening here.

This identity is designed by Pentagram partner Paula Scher and fashion designer Kenneth Cole – it’s celebrity endorsed campaign is all dedicated to changing the way we speak about mental health. It’s a VERY bold look and has clever typography with the use of the logo. Scher describes it as “exactly what you wouldn’t expect from a mental health site” and she’s right – it’s very empowering, bold and positive. Perhaps she will be the leading force in campaigning for mental health and the ‘square peg’ logo will remain as the universally recognised symbol for mental health awarenes (similar to the triangle for AIDS). The “How are you, really” Campaign has strong visual links to the Mental Health Coalition and this keep the branding really strong.

And, as amazing, bold, dramatic as it is, I can’t help but feel it’s reliance on Celebrity endorsements is just not what mental health is about – I understand it’s about recognising that even the celebrity with the most amount of followers is still having bad days, but do we always need to connect mental health stigmas with these unattainable people?


Mental Health Foundation – FLOW

As part of Mental Health Week, FLOWstudio created a set of branding and animations for Mental Health Foundation. I absolutely love the positivity behind this campaign – they really focussed on bright and open colours like the MHC. It’s turned the topic of mental health into an approachable and open subject. Their animation for Kindness is just beautiful and engaging using a really quirky style. The animations and illustrations make you smile and create a really positive vibe.

I feel like they really went into the visuals of mental health issues – looking at how confusing and muddled the topic is by representing that with both geometric shapes and abstract textures. There are some subtle nods to the inner feelings to mental health problems.

As above, they utilised quite bold colours but these are still quite muted compared to MHC, and I think they work better, against the dark background there’s a nice representation of the fact that it’s ok to not be ok – and I think that’s the most important message in all of this. Their illustrations are soft and with few sharp edges, and the images themselves are recognisable and relatable.


Mullen Lowe – We Listen Campaign for Samaritans

A truly fantastic, beautiful and thoughtful campaign. Samaritans as a charity, recognises that it is the last resort for most people in time of need – it’s always thought of at the last moment. They also recognised that a number of their previous campaigns had fallen on deaf ears and not had the awareness needed to make a difference,. MullenLowe stepped in and utilised an intense amount of research for their designs, and I think this really shows in the work produced. It’s not just a campaign so that they can look good, it’s been so well thought through so their work can REALLY make a difference – they recognised the best way to “prevent suicide is getting to people much much earlier.” Their aim was to make people stop and think about calling the Samaritans much earlier on during the initial feelings of distress.

It’s really interesting during their research programme that they found all Samaritans and other campaigns used the word “talk” so much it’s clear that in severe situations, the last thing people want to do is “talk” – they explained: “You’ve got an audience who finds it really difficult to open up” so why consistently use the word that they don’t want to hear. The needed to rebrand the Samaritans in terms of them being there to losten, they don’t try to solve problems or judge you – they just listne. Stop explaining that the people struggling need to TALK and focus on the fact that the Samaritans are better at LISTENING.

They utilised their research which showed that people didn’t think they were in a bad enoguh state to call the samaritans – they saw their problems as insignificant, everyday problems, which can be the major cause in suicides. They used common problems and highlighted the words in the subtext which showed people aren’t ok.

They also went directly against this common theme that appears in most mental health campaigns – this theme of shouting, screaming, bold colours, big brands and popular faces. This visual representation of mental health isn’t what people want to see – yes it’s ok to shout and scream but that rarely happens when people are at their lowest. They needed a softer, more approachable visual identity, utilising people not looking at the camera, it’s a service for everyone and represents the anonymity that people need.

For a campaign that rolled out in 2016, it’s kind of saddening to see that so many other mental health campaigns are so loud, bold, bright, screamy/shouty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s