BlogFour – Designing for Mental Well-being

The conceptual emergence of mental well-being to strategically encompass permanence, passion and personalisation is difficult within an education context. However the conceptual desire for happiness and motivation from an individuals standpoint and their surrounding environment is one that can be an aspiring design to formulate.  The immediate nature of ambitious flare are properties that will kindle the attention mental well-being needs. Provoking emotion motivates the neural system to take behavior and action to achieve goals presented through the branding of the emergent practices.

Research illustrates a chaotic interior and cluttered design can have an effect on your mental health, making you more inclined to feel anxious, stressed and restless. Where as, minimalistic design enhances a sense of clarity, creating an uncluttered interface for all to interpret in any chosen way. To enhance mental health as foundation for individual well-being and the effective functioning of a community within self directed motivation, it is paramount for designs to enhance personal freedom. It is absolutely imperative that a detachment from the modern language, stigma and personification of mental health is removed and the engineering of mental well-being is designed for future references.

Smack Bang design studio although does not directly collaborate with emergent design practices, their strategic branding aesthetic is perfectly coherent to the way in which Mental Health design identities should be approached. The studio achieves solutions driven by ideas and stories, a philosophy similarly shared to producing mental well-being, narrative psychology. The studio explores their clients and their branding issues through ongoing relationships and face-to-face contact, creating a depth in their final designs that show the simplistic and organic essence.

An ideology that is extremely visible within Smack Bang Design’s portfolio are the embodied principles similar to the thesis of Design Principles of Future directions in design for mental health. Since 2014 there has been a significant focus with the development of infrastructure within mental health facilities, to enable individuals to experience a sense of freedom, control and unique comfort throughout their rehabilitation process. The focus on the attributes include:

  • Light
  • Elimination of environmental stressors
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Observation
  • Avoidance of visual disturbances
  • Colour
  • Group interaction
  • Access to nature
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Designing for well-being with individual interject (Insight & Ideas Studio, 2014)
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(Insight & Ideas Studio, 2014)

Smack Bang Design Studio implements these design attributes through their processes of design as well as their final design outcomes. The studio implements group interaction, safety and security and observation when engaging with the design process as collaborators between themselves as a team and with their clients. Their innovative designs thrive through the unique personal relationships that are created, exactly how an individuals wellbeing and health thrives through the relationships and perceptive nature between themselves, others and their environment they are surrounded within. The application of light through white space, colour and organic individualistic motives, adaptively constitutes an emotive, trustworthy and demographic accessibility to promote mental health wellbeing into the norm of society. A visual platform that can transform mental well-being into the challenge of goal setting through the aesthetic movement

The London based design studio, The Allotment, creates strategic branding that are compellingly different, shaping culture and creating emotive stories. Combining design and problem solving, the studio constructs opportunity of growth, trust and energised change. Although they have not encompassed branding for mental health identities to date, their design work for the ZSL Wildlife Champions is extremely effective. The Allotment’s challenge for the conservationist organisation was to
‘develop a fundraising scheme, called Wildlife Champions, that would engage with ZSL’s diverse membership and raise money so that this vital work can continue’ (The Allotment, para. 2 )
The elements that make the brand so effective are their direct design implementations of provoking emotive feelings of individuals responsibilities towards endangered animals and the proactive push towards conservation work.

“The idea of ‘It’s in your hands’ was used to symbolise the direct impact of giving to ZSL.” (The Allotment, para. 1)

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The Allotment Design for ZSL awareness and fundraising solution (The Allotment:ZSL, 2015)

The design studio increased the awareness and donations for this conservation organisation through their development of visual language for two initial schemes, ‘Animals under threat’ and ‘Conservation Technology’. Research indicated these were two key areas of focus for the charity.

Through the innovative die cut hand holding the information, it shaped the scheme to be action driven and encouraged potential donors to give to specific causes while still connecting with people on an emotional level. The design and branding has expanded across events, digital, social and print adverts within and outside the zoos.

Mental Health branding and design should emulate the tangibility as well as emotive nature that The Allotment produce. For an issue such as animal conservation that is somewhat removed from the everyday lives of the individuals living in London, an active and expansive responsive result has been achieved.It is also imperative that the design and branding should not identify as a piece of intimidating scholarly constructs successfully executed within the ZSL Wildlife Champions branding design.

Designers need to urgently work on the portrayal of Mental Health, as a positive brand that is steered significantly away from the negative stigma, and into a design that integrates seamlessly into individuals lives and environment. Mental Health needs a transformation from the incomprehensible ambiguous ideology, to a simplistic and tangible concept that provokes excitement, wellbeing and emotive desire!

The Allotment, 2015, ZSL Wildlife Champions, London, viewed 23 August 2016, <http://theallotment.co/case-study/zsl-fundraising/&gt;

Smack Bang Designs, 2014, Portfolio: Insights &Ideas Studio by Vivienne Walsh, Sydney, viewed 21 August 2016 <https://smackbangdesigns.com/contact/&gt;

Sheahan. M, 2014, Future Directions in Design for Mental Health Facilities, Hassel Studio, Melbourne, Australia, viewed 25 August 2016 <http://www.hassellstudio.com/docs/final_futuredirections_designformentalhealth_2014.pdf&gt;