As today is World Mental Health Day 2018, we thought it might be interesting to shine a brand spotlight on the increasingly popular app, Headspace. An app that a few of us Flowsters find useful, usually on the daily commute into Manchester city centre.
Headspace is a meditation app developed by former monk, Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson, designed to help users practice mindfulness and improve how they deal with stress and worry. Particularly fitting in today’s world of constant notifications and the ability (and sometimes expectation) to be contactable 24/7. It’s a chance to take 10 minutes just for you.
One of the reasons the app works so well is its beautiful design and illustration.
Creative Director, Anna Charity, and Illustrator, Chris Markland, understood that the concept of meditation is still something a lot of people don’t fully get. By personifying the mind as a character and distilling the style to a simple, almost childlike quality, they created something that people find easier to grasp and feel less fearful of, or silly trying.
There are playful animations peppered through the app journey that guide users through each meditation exercise. Animation is such a great tool for visualising complex concepts in a fun and story-driven way, and is the perfect way to walk you through the basics of mindfulness, making Headspace more accessible and engaging to its users.
The family of characters are a fun and reassuring bunch, and help make practicing mindfulness much less daunting. They represent people of all shapes, sizes and personalities, reinforcing the fact that mindfulness is accessible to everyone and we can all give it a go if we fancy it. The use of a soft, muted colour palette and clean vector shapes helps Headspace feel calm and inviting – there’s a warmth and fuzziness that makes people more likely to engage with it, which indeed they have. As of September 2018, 31 million people had downloaded Headspace with 1 million being paying subscribers.
Complementing the friendly visual style is the voice of Andy Puddicombe, co-creator of the app and the man that leads you through each exercise. His conversational and relaxed manner supports the characters (and you!) to find a bit of inner zen.
Would Headspace have worked so well, and become so popular if it had taken a photographic or footage approach? We think it would’ve been much harder to create that positive brand tone of voice using these methods. There’s a danger that footage would make it feel like a government health film as opposed to an intuitive journey that you want to explore and play with. Either way, we think the brand and their creative team got it spot on with their charming illustrative approach.
Why not celebrate World Mental Health Day by trying a 10-minute exercise and meeting the whole Headspace gang?!