Design Change Makers: Ashley Schofield Events

We are very excited to be partnering with London’s Design Museum for a new higher education talk series called ‘Design Change Makers’. The first in the series will be a special event focusing on mental health. Among our various speakers we have Ashley Schofield who’s mental health won a Creative Conscience award in 2017. Below he writes about her experience. Unfortunately, tickets are now sold out to the event.

My brief was to choose a subject and use typography to activate my cause. Although I knew a lot of people submitted projects to Creative Conscience that have a personal story as to why the subject was chosen, my decision was a little different. As I had a lot of time on this brief, I had the chance to really go in depth into a subject which doesn’t necessarily affect me. I decided to go out of my comfort zone and tackle a subject I knew little about in order to learn something new.

Through exploring initial avenues it was clear to me that mental health is one of the biggest problems facing individuals today, it’s a global problem which can happen to anyone at anytime, and although many organisations have used campaigns to raise awareness, I felt not many resonated and connected with people, in fact some even felt polarising, with dull black and white photography and an uninspiring tone of voice. Therefore I chose mental health as my subject and challenged myself to come up with a new solution, using typography to communicate my message.

Through my research I found that there was an abundance of information about mental health and how it’s improved in recent years, everyone now has access to free, anonymous and helpful advice whenever they need it. There are 24 hour hotlines, support groups and online forums dedicated to giving people the help they need. The problem is that without talking and reaching out no one can provide this help, meaning that ‘without words mental health is invisible’. Using this idea and the established brand Mind, I created a typographic campaign called the ‘Make It Visible’ campaign, which shares stories of mental health recovery and encourages people to speak out, voice their feelings, and inspire others to talk.

The typeface I created for the campaign is inspired by Mind’s four step values: communication, diagnosis and understanding, all coming together to form recovery. Using my typeface with a flexible typographic system I visualised the idea of invisibility, various mental illnesses and the confusion surrounding them. This and thought provoking messaging allowed me to create disruptive visuals which aim to get noticed, encourage people to talk and inspire change.

For maximum impact and to communicate the ‘without words it’s invisible’ message with more of a personal approach, the campaign focuses on print based solutions, which gives users the chance to interact with the idea wherever possible. I created a mental health support booklet, merchandising and direct mailers which would be used throughout the campaign, to get as many people talking about mental health as possible. This promotional material drives viewers to Mind’s online community which provides help, support and encourages others to share their personal experiences and stories of recovery for the world to see.

Since graduating university two years ago I’ve continued to develop my project. Last year I won a Creative Conscience Award and this year I’m getting the chance to present my work at the Creative Conscience Change Makers event at the Design Museum. Every so often I find myself returning to this project to refine and re-work certain elements, coming up with new ways of representing the same ‘without words it’s invisible’ idea I had a few years back. The hope for my project is to one day take it to Mind, even if it’s just for feedback which I think would be an interesting opportunity.

In short, the aim of my project is to end the stigma surrounding mental health and bring light to a subject which, unfortunately for many, is still dark. Everyone deserves their chance to be heard and the first step is to talk about it and make the invisible visible.