A series of mini campaigns aimed to highlight problems within society that can result in negative behavioural traits

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'In Moderation' explores three fictitious brands and their products which, when used in excess, can have a detrimental effect on our mental and physical wellbeing. Through exploring these ideas we hope to spread awareness and encourage important conversations around mental health. We also highlight details of local and national organisations who provide support to those struggling with any of the issues raised.

The Rise & Grind brand is inspired by the tech boom of the 1980s and the birth of toxic hustle culture. Through a series of abstract and disorientating illustrations, coupled with a photography style that emphasises feelings of stress and fatigue, this visual identity is a creative representation of an overworked and exhausted 21st century society.

The outcome

We use direct and straight talking copy, to highlight this issue in a blatant and unapologetic way. We harness the power of creativity to draw attention whilst challenging perceptions and addressing the wider issues around hustle culture, mental wellbeing and the importance of living a balanced lifestyle. Throughout our research, we noted a direct correlation between overworking and overabusing. It seems in a lot of cases, the more successful (and thus often stressed and pressured) an individual becomes, the more they rely on negative behavioural traits - such as an overindulgence in food, booze, drugs etc. - to get them through.

A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization concludes that working 55 or more hours per week is associated with an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35-40 hours a week.

The ‘Hustle Culture Brewery’ serves as a thought-piece on how the toxic ‘hustle culture’ trend coupled with an over-reliance on alcohol and social media has affected our everyday lives, and thus mental wellbeing. By ‘objectifying’ the hustle culture trend and incorporating the concept into a brewery brand, we aim to explore the negative aspects that one encounters from being overworked and constantly compared to others.

The outcome

The bold, condensed typeface represents the over confident, direct messaging that you’d typically find within hustle culture content. This is then combined with a set of double-sided barley grain characters. One side represents the personality that others would typically see on the outside; the social media presence, whilst the opposite shows the personality that social media might not show; the overworked, tired, deflated personality. All of which are then so often suppressed with booze or similar. This aims to highlight the negative issues surrounding hustle culture, binge drinking and social media and the importance of living a life of balance. By using a bold, bright and attractive brand identity to spread a deeper message, we hope to highlight the fact that things may not always be as they seem on the outside.

“Alcohol acts on your nervous system and causes brain activity to slow down. This can make you feel relaxed or sleepy. So you might find that drinking alcohol helps you to unwind and fall asleep more quickly. But studies have shown that alcohol actually disturbs your sleep.” Bupa, 2021

“When self-doubt starts to overwhelm you, you might not even realize it, but one sign is often over-working.” Velera Wilson

The final campaign in our mini-series is called Spiral. This involves a satirical three-step “self care” routine, highlighting the negative cycle that can occur during and after recreational substance use.

This range is inspired by the direct relationship between recreational substance abuse, and a negative mindset. In many ways, the process of using a product in a daily routine to improve one’s self confidence, has many similarities to the way our society uses recreational substances in an attempt to improve one's feelings.

Visualised as a self-care product line, Spiral features three products, each embodying different negative effects caused by the excessive use of recreational substances. These products have been designed to reflect the different stages of the weekend and highlight how we use them as a way to improve or cover up our own emotions and feelings.

The outcome

Placing each product within a poster to resemble those promoting nightlife, the campaign highlights how commonplace this behaviour has become. The juxtaposition of the bright, dreamy sky with the hard-hitting language and gritty vibe further highlight the negative effects surrounding substance abuse. Split into three products - ‘Chaos Cover Up’, 'Sabotage Session' and 'Regretful Ritual’ - the Spiral series shows the journey many of us embark on regularly throughout the weekend, leaving us feeling in a more fragile and exhausted mental state the following week.

"A recent survey showed that 20% of people had gone to work while experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings." Mental Health Foundation. (2016). Added Value: Mental health as a workplace asset. Mental Health Foundation: London

If any of these issues have struck a chord with you, just know that you’re not alone. The first step in making a difference to your life is acknowledging that excess is just that, a bit too much. Life is better in moderation. We can still enjoy social media, coffee, hard-work, even the odd session, but it’s good to know when enough is enough and you’re reaching your limit. Head over to our journal to find details of organisations who are working everyday to help those with mental health problems.