AnxietyUK Rebranding Process and Story
A small story about a project that has helped me grow and open up about my own mental health. I wanted to share this, so that if you feel like giving up, just remember that you aren’t alone…
The project was to rebrand AnxietyUk, based on a personal experience and having the mindset of being a strong advocate for mental health. The whole project being focused on taking their brand and how it could be improved to both indicate the message and services this brand hopes to promote. This being the message that it’s “OKAY” to have anxiety and it’s a perfectly normal part of life.
The project was started by exploring how the brand’s identity could be improved from the logo design to the website design but expanding the project to develop a app that will allow users to record their feelings or rate their current mood. The purpose of the app is to highlight trends or consistency within someone’s anxiety or mood in general.
Throughout this project, I used it to really connect with the people who follow my work with the intention to show others that it’s okay to express how we feel. This was mainly done through Instagram or Twitter and even Snapchat, I wanted to be fully transparent to show where either my mindset was or how my mental health is improving/getting worse. I didn’t want to hold anything back, if I did that, this project would lose all purpose.
I have faced a lot during my life, but more so within the past few weeks and that’s anxiety. For me, anxiety has always been a mental thing, but recently it has had a physical impact on my life. I have always been an anxious person when performing in front of people in my class, even talking to people who I have known for most of my life. Weirdly that switched during the later periods of the first year of my degree. I am now extremely confident in the way I speak towards others in my class. This is where anxiety, has somewhat adapted due to the confidence in my work. A year ago, I hated showing others my work as I was unsure it would be liked. Now, I know in myself from self-acceptance, that I am great, that my work is great. I feel more confident that I ever have. Positive feedback is amazing, but I have learned that if you look for the acceptance from others, then you truly aren’t happy or proud of things.
Anxiety still affects me in a social way, I hate going outside. Unless I have class or feel forced to do something. Anxiety has flipped and now can happen at the most random of times, for example, I can be on the bus feeling perfectly fine. Suddenly, I just start panicking over the smallest of things, analysing everything about the situation I am currently in. My heart will suddenly start beating ten times faster and feel that I could break down and cry right there and then. The strange part of this, that I will be feeling perfectly fine and it will start out of nowhere.
Something I have also been struggling with is the constant feeling of depersonalisation, the sensation of being disconnected from one’s body, emotions or surroundings. Throughout this entire experience I have found that when I’m designing or listening to music all that goes away. I’ll still be feeling weird but it’s strange this past year was the best year of my life for multiple reasons beyond my work. I have so many great memories with so many amazing people and a lot of those were new for me at the time. There’s something just not right and I can’t explain it or find out the cause of it. I haven’t posted much about this feeling outside of my Snapchat, but I have always tried to use my platform to create a better place. I figured I need to start being truly transparent with the people who support my work on the daily. I’ve been through a lot during my life with ADHD and Bullying, everything I have overcame or somewhat fixed but this period of my life is one of the scariest times I have ever been through. A couple weeks ago I had my first panic attack surrounded by my friends, then these past few days have been nothing but a struggle. On Christmas Eve, I couldn’t sit with my family, I felt like I was about to freeze everytime I was spoken too and felt so on edge constantly. I’m trying my best to get a balance between work and life, get on top of my physical health and most importantly my mental health. I’m going through regular therapy sessions to discuss everything on my mind, I’m also surrounded by a handful of people who truly give a sh*t and known what I’m going through and can’t thank them enough, I truly can’t. I’m blessed to be where I am in life and don’t take that for granted. I’m blessed to be alive, I’ve worked the hardest I ever have but I’m scared for the first time in my life, I can’t create a solution or an answer to something. I feel like I just got to keep going regardless of all this, feeling uncertain about things or feeling uncomfortable when walking around my own home.
6 months ago, I started a project that has quite frankly changed my life, made me a much better person, designer and put me in the best position I’ve ever been in. I started in late October and wanted to give in on it and just focus on other projects, mainly as my mind was in other places. After I went to the Logic concert, that all changed. Since then I have had this constant buzz that has some what motivated me from the moment I wake up to I fall asleep. I’m glad I never gave up, the person I am today, I’m basically fearless, I used to always look for approval in everything, from my work, to my appearance. Yeah I still have the odd panic attack here and there, the feeling of depersonalisation is one that I’m slowly getting used too. I started to replace “wanna” with “gonna” and every moment or chance I get I do it without giving myself the chance to doubt myself. For the first tome in my life my heart and mind is in the right place and I’ve used everything I was going through to push myself to the highest limits I’ve ever done.
The finalised mark, is to subtly highlight how anxiety can both be caused and feel, this is done by the setting of type. Firstly anxiety can often be about how “i” feel or think about “U”, this can be flipped to mean that “i” listen to “U”. In this instance the “i” being the therapist talking to the person ringing the charity for help. The second meaning behind the mark is that anxiety can make us feel like we are constantly on show, and that everyone is focusing on every single thing that you do. Therefore, highlighting that the “i” standing out, creates a uncertainty and a links between how people can feel. Balancing the previous statement, anxiety can make use feel alone, when in fact we have people to help us, even though that the time it is not obvious, Raising the “U” allows the reader to understand they are not alone through all of this. The final aspect of the concept is that the “i” used is lower case to create personification linking the reader who potentially could be suffering anxiety with the brand.
To support the message of this project, I wanted to develop my own range of photography that shows a mixture of how Anxiety feels and how various types can be perceived by the sufferer on the inside and the outside. The imagery needed to be dark to create a sense of fear that showed the person feeling alone or scared. The brand photography was photographed by Matthew Perry, however the shoots were discussed heavily between us both prior and during the shoots.
The chosen imagery, needed to communicate the right message but feel strong and balanced in terms of editing and potential in how they would be used throughout the branding. It was important not to choose imagery that felt lacklustre or extremely overpowering but hit the criteria perfectly.
There was a need for a poster campaign that promoted two things, the first being that its okay to talk. The second being the various types of Anxiety that most likely are unheard, but once people understand them. They can easily be recognisable. The purpose of this was to allow the reader to relate to the brand more, rather than promoting Anxiety overall. Breaking it down, felt like a more suitable option for raising awareness.
iFEEL Mood App
Aside from creating the branding and campaign for the brand, I wanted to create an app that would technically become a sub-brand of “AnxietyUK”. The name for the app is inspired half of the theme of the logo design. This being how about “i” feel, which is the purpose of the entire app. To record, correlate and outline feelings of the user. The app will allow anyone to see trends such as low points, and an average mood across the current month or year.
I produced a small video, mainly to show the function of the app, and working animations.
This project has taught me so much. Not only about mental health and feeling good about myself and trying to balance work and life but treating others. You never know what people are going through, treating everybody with respect and keeping yourself to yourself is the best solution. I found myself using this to really push myself as it was something I was really passionate about, and yeah I am still having panic attacks but I have learnt how to reduce the fear in my life. Being open about mental health is something, that makes the whole situation easier as it opens doors to getting help.
After I conducted research I found that 1 in 6 people face battles with various forms of anxiety, this suddenly became a project about others. Applying that to my class, a group of roughly 24 students. Meaning 4 people (including myself) could be going through a similar experience and if I was open about how I felt, maybe it could give them the courage to talk about it to.
Opening up was one of the scariest things I have ever done, as you don’t really know how people can react, the truth is everyone handles these situations differently. For me anxiety has gone from a thing that held me back, to something that makes me have the upperhand. This project has been equally about myself, I’ve somehow learned to use anxiety to push my work further. I still feel anxious when I sit next to someone I don’t know but it’s a part of life and if I force myself away from that, I will miss so many opportunities.
A lot of changes have come from replacing these thoughts and self-doubts with saying things without second guessing. I started to be vocal about everything I wanted to achieve even if that was to my parents, peers or even my tutor. I started saying “I’m going to win this…” or “I’m going to get this grade…” rather than “I hope I get this grade”. Saying this, even though I may not achieve it, somewhat pushes me to work harder and force myself out of my comfort zone.
This project has changed my life, and I’m grateful to have a platform to share a story like this. Trust me, if your going through something similar just remember you are not alone, it does get better. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.