Today is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme, set by the World Federation for mental health, is all about ‘making mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority.’
At DesignStudio, we’re avid advocates of mental health awareness. Through proactively discussing and challenging the ways we can improve as a business (from training programes to awareness presentations and everything else in-between), we strive to create supportive environments for our team and partners. This is also reflected in the work that we do: most notably, in our brand refresh for Mind.
Mind is the largest and oldest mental health charity in England and Wales. Recognised all over the world, they have led the mental health conversation for more than 60 years.
In 2021, we collaborated with Mind to help them connect with all audiences; arming them for future growth and moving them from reactive supporters to proactive change makers in the world of mental health. After getting to know their team, and learning all about their challenges, it stood out to us that we needed to help recapture their fighting spirit with a contemporary and accessible identity that would reach a greater number of people who need Mind most.
As part of the complete system, here we focus on 3 key aspects of the visual identity that have helped shift Mind from being a support-based brand to a proactive change maker, leading the conversation in Mental Health.
Mind’s logo is iconic. It's a truly loved part of the brand, which meant we approached it with sensitivity. We needed to honour its heritage, whilst adding in flexibility for its many uses: alongside partner brands, at small scale and across all digital applications.
To understand the logo better we dug deep into its construction. The original symbol was meant to demonstrate a person's journey to better mental health. Known affectionately as ‘The Squiggle’, it illustrates the idea that this journey is not a linear one. As we examined the paths of the squiggle we noticed that it was actually made from 3 individual lines, not one.
The logo needed to be simpler, more legible and immediately understood.
After digitising our selects, and with lots of craft, we drew a squiggle with a continuous line to represent one mind (as was always intended). The squiggle is now thicker and more recognisable on a smaller scale and better fit for purpose across all platforms including print, digital, avatars and merch.
Alongside the logo, we looked at updating the Mind typeface, specifically to assist those with visual impairments.
Working with monotype, we developed a new custom font, inspired by the squiggle.
Together, we carried out an extensive analysis of every character, understanding where each letter needed to open up, which terminals required refinement, and changing the width of each character so that it can be easily read at smaller scales.
Our new font, ‘Mind Meridian’ comes in 3 weights: Light, Bold and Display. It is full of with character and personality but with accessibility at its core. The forms have looping curves and friendly ligatures, imbuing it with warmth but with plenty of gravitas, too.
Illustration has been a useful tool for Mind, helping them visually communicate some of the challenging aspects of mental health that words just cannot quite capture. By embracing the spirit of community, we wanted to create something that represents all of the diverse people Mind serves.
Our ambition was for everyone to be able to donate an illustration, no matter their age or ability. First, we offered everyone at DesignStudio the chance to contribute. We then gave the world an opportunity to donate an illustration, too.
With this idea in mind we developed a simple brief that encouraged people to draw an illustration based on our themes: Open, Experienced, Unstoppable, Together, Connect, Change, Support and Respect. This approach created an impactful depiction of the myriad ways mental health affects peoples’ lives which we brought together in a consistent way through colour.
Feel free to view some of the illustrations below 👇
In short, where mental health was once heavily stigmatised and way down the list in priority of charity causes, it has been catapulted into the spotlight as the world faces an unprecedented mental health crisis, made even more acute by the pandemic. Against this backdrop, our work has armed Mind with a powerful, flexible and accessible new visual identity that has enabled them to reach more people who need their support.
Mental health charities are now third on the list of causes the public consider supporting and Mind's brand affinity and fundraising continues to grow. They're no longer a brand that struggles to connect with audiences. Instead, Mind is one that embodies its mission and fighting spirit, embraces and prioritises its audience and is leading global narratives around mental health to enact change.
If you’re interested in learning more about Mind, or if you’re in need of help, then please click on the link below.