Click the picture above to view the PDF Milanote file showing my process and Strategy for this project
There seems to be a subscription box for everything now a days – with the covid pandemic cloing shops up and down the country, there was an emergent trend this year with subscription boxes and online shopping. At least 57% of Brits now have a subscription box. With the same monthly payment for something, adults are able to effectively budget for regular usual purchases. Some subscription based companies are branchin gout offering their products to healthcare workers at a lower cost to improve their mental wellbeing. As of August 2020, Brits are spending £2billion a year on subscription services, 60% of adults are subscribed to Amazon Prime, the average price of a subscription box is £14 and by 2022, the subscription box market is estimated to grow by 77% to be worth over £1billion. 23% of those aged 18-34 have a subscription box, the highest in all age categories. Customer experience and “extras”, niche and unique products, personalisation and quality are the 4 main factors considered when choosing to sign up to a subscription box.
In 2019, a number of reports were publishing showing the recent upward trend in searches for houseplants in the UK. The rise in sales of indoor plants and accessories, as well as the prominence of Instagram Influencers shows a strong growing trend among Young Adults. The RHS reported a 10-15% year or year increase in interest in houseplants and houseplant sales grew 50% in 2018. Patch, one of the highest searched for terms on Google for Houseplants, reported an average of 67& of Londoners bought a houseplant in the last 12 months. Urbanisation has been reported as a factor affecting this trend and the physical and mental benefits of plants also contributed. The design trend away from stark minimalism has also driven this. Interior designs report that there has been a rise in organic, calming furnishings. Interesting, Alice Vincent who owns an Instagram account dedicated to houseplants, reported that millennials don’t have the housing or financial security our parents had, and the want something to nurture.
Mental Health Apps for Young Adults:
Covid isn’t going anywhere fast – and even in the case of a vaccine, the long term effects of a year + of isolation or lockdowns will have a lasting effect on our mental health. When talking about this to people, it definitely seems that during the first few weeks of lockdown, people were generally happier, getting back to nature and gardening, exploring things they never previously had the chance to and enjoyed the amazing weather in the free time we’d been gifted. Of course, a high number of people were also dealing with significant losses and death and this had been considered as a factor in the changing state of mental health in the country. However, with the recent study in September, it’s evident as time continues and lockdown again occurs, mental wellbeing is again on the decline. Mental wellbeing or health apps have noted a huge increase in downloaders, people searching for help through an app rather than weigh down the already struggling NHS. However, teletherapy apps have been an issue with concerns around privacy and efficacy which is definitely something to note. Due to covid, mental wellbeing apps also continued to do well beyond January (the busiest time of the year for these apps). In Britain, mental health apps have been downloaded more than 1 million times since the beginning of Covid. Brits are increasingly turning to tech to look after their mental health without the usual structures of family and friends for support. Headspace, for example, saw downloads increase by 44% in March 2020. Interestingly, Millenials are more likely to speak about their mental health with seven in 10 saying they feel comfortable seeking help, and they want their mental health support to be “as easy as ordering dinner”… the technological advancements in Mental Wellbeing are so vast and so varied it’s a huge market to attempt to enter with little tech experience – however, it’s also evident that despite the thousands of apps available, speaking to people or getting off technology is still the number 1 way to address your problems and I think that little hole needs tapping into!
Design Styles for Mental Health:
Linking the previous two topics of research, I wanted to consider how design styles and trends for mental health are developing. Of course, there’s a huge emphasis on natural elements within the styles, a space that evokes nature can reduce stress. Looking into this more, drawing nature into design through colour is something that’s increasingly more common now, soft greys, greens, darker blues can all influence the mind. Pantone recognised a change in 2019-2020 colour palette changes and created a palette called Eclectic Folk – with darker, earthy hues and tones reminiscent of natural fabrics and materials. With wellness being a big trend in design, “the balance we aspire to within ourselves will also reflect in the compostitions we create” resulting in minimalism and lighter typefaces. Wellness has, in itself, become a brand, and consumers will want to see more companies reflecting this with innovative packaging, softer colours and clean Skandi style designs. Reflecting this, botanical graphics and raw textures will also become a big theme in new designs focussed towards mental health. Interestingly, I’ve found a number of recent mental wellbeing campaigns use bold bright colours against black or dark backgrounds (take the Mental Health Coalition or MindSpace redesign. Personally, I find these websites and colours grating and irritating and not indicative of the calming sense of wellbeing we seek from these institutions. The psychology of colour is something that needs to be considered when creating something to help people through their problems and issues.
Gardening for Mental Health:
“We garden to nurture our little corner of nature but just as importantly, to nourish our souls and more and more people are tapping into [gardening’s] healing power.””
— Monty Don
This topic is the basis of my work here – I want to constantly refer back to how gardening or cultivating a plant can improve mental and physical wellbeing. For centuries, gardening has had a longstanding history to wellbeing – St Johns Wort for depression, ginger for digestion… Scientists are also acknowledging the physical, social and mental improvements from green spaces but it needs to be addressed that in this time of urbanisation, not everyone has access to a beautifully cultivated open green space. Of course, gardening in a large space can be as comparable to physical improvements as Yoga, badminton or volleyball. But a recent King’s Fund research paper demonstrated the health benefits of gardening go beyond physical and showed significant reductions in depression and anxiety. There is a huge call on the Government to recognise this and utilise the greenery for taking the weight off health organisations. Four out of five teachers who signed up for the RHS School Gardening Campaign reported a significant impact on pupil#s mental health and wellbeing. During lockdown, 7 in 10 considered that having a garden improved their mental wellbeing and 57% of respondents value their gardens more now that prior to lockdown. Of those questioned with no outdoor space, 67%said it is something they would look for when they next move house. Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Projects can be found around the country predominantly focussing on younger adults with disabilities or those with learning disabilities. Through working together on a project, feelings of loneliness and social isolation are counteracted and support is available from like-minded people.
We use the term ‘gardening’ to describe “an activity in which people grow, cultivate, and take care of plants (flowers and vegetables) for non-commercial use,”British Psychology Society
My target audience pans over Gen Z and Millenials (18-24 year olds). 58% of Gen Z and 61% of Millenials reported they would pay more for eco-friendly products. With both millennials and Gen Z supporting eco-friendly products, this trend will long continue to pass down to future generations and is evidently going nowhere! 70% agreed that individuals/consumers are responsible for the future of the environment – by considering your purchasing and consuming actions carefully. We live in a dangerous world of “throw-away culture” which is being addressed with current product design trends – the ability to reuse waste or a product. More and more companies are removing or reducing their plastic use, or replacing it with compostable or biodegradable products. It’s now beyond the use of plastics or non recyclable products, but the carbon footprint of your purchases, from start to finish – this is something that is extremely vital when considering a subscription service. The size of the box can have a dramatic effect on it’s carbon footprint and the shipping of seeds will also be considered. Gen Z are now Generation Green and for a product to be directly marketed to them, all elements of sustainability must be considered.
We looked at mission statements previously, and drawing in on that prior knowledge it’s vital that the statement is clear, to the point and without my usual waffle (as evidenced above!!).
OpenUpBud addresses Mental Health issues in Young Adults by combining recent upwards trends in Subscription Boxes and gardening within Gen Z. Through thorough research and clear Mental Health methodologies, young adults will have a community of likeminded people, activities to take them away from the stresses of Social Media and access to Social and Theraputic Horticulture in the comfort of their own homes. With existing similar subscriptions being over-priced and not addressing the psycological benefits of gardening, for adults in University or first-time jobs, the aim is to provide a cost effective and eco-friendly alternative to Mental Health apps.
- Colours – grey/forest green/blues/black – inc white to lift the colour scheme
- Simplistic minimalist design – clear graphics and drawings
- Calming, earthy colours
- Keep design consistent through App and Box