London-based branding studio Nalla has developed a mental health resource database for creatives called MindFull.
It has been launched today on “Blue Monday” – the day of the year that is supposedly the “most depressing”. The concept was first published in a 2005 press release from UK travel company Sky Travel, and takes into account bad weather, long nights, and the financial and health-related after effects of the festive season.
Blue Monday falling within a nation-wide lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic in 2021 is likely to add further strain. And for designers and other creatives, it comes after a year of turbulence within the industry. With this in mind, the Nalla team created MindFull to help their peers “feel a little less blue”.
“Time to do something a little more significant”
MindFull acts as a database for resources, curated to help people struggling with their mental health. The resources range from self-care tips, to distraction techniques, coping mechanisms and even Netflix and podcast recommendations.
The Nalla team explain in MindFull’s introduction message, “We’re not doctors or therapists. We’ve just be there before.” For those suffering an acute mental health crisis, there is an “SOS Section”, which directs the user to the proper support.
The project came to fruition in around three months, Nalla marketing manager Oscar Ralf tells Design Week, and was born out of a desire to help their fellow creatives. Most mental health platforms are “hard and uninspiring” to engage with, he says, and a gap existed for something more playful and uplifting.
“We’ve done the usual things like donate money and run smaller projects in the past, but given the year that 2020 was, we thought now was the time to do something a little more significant,” he says, adding that it felt pertinent to use Nalla’s collective design skills to try and tackle the social problem.
“Whittle down and discover content in a more granular way”
The online resource has two core user journeys, according to Ralf. The first was for those who crave “some ‘me-time’”, he says.
“Designing an uncluttered way of being able to browse by selecting or searching how you’re feeling was key here,” Ralf tells Design Week. “We wanted this to feel calm and personal, offering a journey for users to embark on and discover a variety of tailored suggestions to help them with their specific feelings.”
While the first user journey prioritises exploration, the second is for those who have a more targeted need from the app. For those who already know the help they’re after, the Nalla team has embedded filters into the experience so that users can “whittle down and discover content in a more granular way”, Ralf says.
“We wanted to celebrate imperfections”
MindFull’s curated offering is underpinned by a design system that Ralf calls “upbeat and positive in tone”. Through the copy and design, he explains it was important to the Nalla team to get away from perfection and instead focus on honesty.
“One of the key design aspects was the stop motion animations and illustrations, which were all cut out by hand in order to give a more honest and genuine feel,” he says. “We wanted to celebrate imperfections, which is something as humans we often tend to avoid.”
These illustrations are accompanied by a muted pastel colour palette. Because MindFull is geared towards creatives, the platform is visually-led, Ralf adds.
“The pressure to constantly deliver creative and inspiring client work, especially at a time when lockdowns and restrictions are in place, makes it a very challenging time for creatives everywhere – so we felt this audience would appreciate more visual stimulation, as opposed to just words,” he says.
“Much of what is on offer through MindFull could help anyone, but we wanted the site to be open and interesting to use and navigate, and to give creative users more of an explorational experience.”
You can browse MindFull here.