New South Wales Consumer Advisory Group Mental Health Inc (or ‘NSWCAG’, as they more comfortably referred to themselves) came to us with a fairly evident problem: they needed a rebrand.
Since its inception over 20 years ago, NSWCAG has been at the forefront of mental health consumer advocacy throughout New South Wales, championing the voices of people with mental health and their issues. Their brand, however, didn’t speak to what they did or who they were.
Before jumping into ideas we helped them work through the issues with their current brand, and explored how a new identity might capture who they really are.
Overview of the Existing Brand:
Discovering their goals:
In early brand strategy sessions, we found that they really wanted to be heard, and to be a voice for people who otherwise wouldn’t have much power in difficult times. They saw themselves as respectful, honest, and sincere, and, while qualitative data and human-centred research were pillars of their work, much more focused on representing real stories and real people. And they saw mental health not as something bad that required a cure, but an important part of many people’s realities that could be supported by the government (and society) much more effectively.
“We want to advance the inclusion and opportunities for people with a lived experience of mental health, and transform negative situations into positive, fulfilling lives.”
They needed to both resonate with audiences who felt dis-empowered and downtrodden, and appeal to new and younger people who were excited in the belief that things can change. They needed respect from and engagement with state and federal ministers, and help people who don’t understand mental illness take those first steps. Finally, they also needed to acknowledge their existing base, and not alienate them with something entirely out of the blue.
After a thorough examination of the brand and messaging, it was time to jump into ideas. We often find its useful to explore concepts through the lens of evolutions, revolutions and wildcards—ideas that are improvements on what’s there, ideas that are a real step towards something new (while keeping the core values) and ideas that are exciting approaches from left field, respectively—and this was particularly useful for NSWCAG.
From the hundreds of terms and approaches we explored, we presented ten final names, each with their own rationale and pragmatic pros and cons, including the all-important domain availability. These ranged from Mental Health Inc (an ‘evolution’ from their previous brand that streamlined and refocused their name) and LikeMinds (a ‘revolution’ that touched on both a positive focus on mental health and the idea of coming together) to Mosaic (a bolder ‘wildcard’ that served as a metaphor for mental health: complicated and sometimes fragmented, but beautiful all the same).
In the end, however, their new direction was found in the rather simple form of ‘being’.
Being speaks to a humble focus on real people—human beings—but was primarily chosen to re-frame/de-stigmatise different states of being. To underscore the point that it’s valid to live life in many different ways, no matter if someone has found peace and quiet or if they inhabit a place of relative chaos.
Bringing it all together:
Once the name was locked, we worked through a number approaches to the visual identity that explored a similar level of variation, and worked on their messaging to make sure they were still covering the essentials.
The final logomark represents the complexity of the brain and also acts as a speech bubble; ‘we have a voice and will be heard.’ Using sentence case (capital letter at the start and lowercase for the rest) captures a balance that full upper or lowercase would not, in keeping it friendly and approachable while maintaining a sense of confidence and professionalism.
Finally, with such a different name, the use of turquoise gives the brand a degree of continuity throughout the transition from where they were before. And a repurposed (and refined) version of their original title can make what they do clear when other context isn’t available.
As part of the process we developed brand guidelines, covering everything from how to use the logo to recommendations on how to talk about the brand and represent it visually. This included a range of collateral, from straightforward stationary to examples of different implementations of the core visual motifs.
Being received a very positive response upon launch of the new brand with many feeling it captured the heart of their mission, and acknowledged their history while setting them up to jump boldly into conversations with new audiences. We can’t wait to see how they can use it to do even better work with those experiencing mental health issues in New South Wales, and throughout the country.
“We are very proud of how our new brand looks and what it represents. It builds on our rich history but also captures a renewed vision for the future, repackaged in a way that is fresh and exciting. It speaks to the belief that people with lived experience are stronger together and reaffirms the importance of advocacy and storytelling in mental health.”