Positive Impact – Communicating Mental Wellness to Diverse Audiences

Positive Impact describes themselves as “a community-based, volunteer-driven organization that provides comprehensive mental health care and prevention services to individuals, groups and families affected by HIV.” Their mission statement further clarifies the term “comprehensive,” identifying their aim of providing “culturally competent” mental health and prevention services. Their mission is—in a word—complex.

When the agency received funding specifically earmarked for use in the development of marketing materials, we were consulted to facilitate a number of meetings aimed at discerning the best use of the funds.

Our initial meetings with the organization revealed that the employees had a variety of needs and desires for the development of a printed piece that explained the organization. Some departments needed a brochure that spoke to patients in need of services. Other departments needed a brochure that would effectively market the entire organization to prospective donors. Still other departments were charged with securing volunteer support to keep the organization’s day-to-day operations afloat. Each department had a particular role in furthering the success of the agency and they were passionately committed to fulfilling their specific charge.

Partnering with staff at Positive Impact, we began to craft a message that focused on two points: expressing the critical importance of their mission and services; and, requesting specific means of support from the community. Because of the sensitive nature of the organization’s services, we felt compelled to balance the business aspects of the message with personal anecdotes of the employees and clients. The effect was the humanization of mental illness and HIV.  By lending the voices and images of clients, volunteers and professional counselors to the project, we began to defy the stigma associated with HIV and mental illness.

Our graphic solution strengthens the agency’s visual identity as well as their mission by building upon elements in the logo and incorporating photos reflective of a broad cross-section of ages, genders and ethnicities. In addition to physically diverse attributes, photos were selected for the range of emotions they express. We intentionally avoided the use of stereotypically blissful stock photos, in favor of a realistic portrayal of varying states of mental health. The cover of the brochure simply proclaims the organization’s name and reflects the populations they serve.

The design cements the organization’s brand in the mind of its audience in a number of ways. Designed as a 7-inch square, the brochure is a literal translation of the shape of the agency’s logo. Gradients lifted directly from the logo span the top and bottom of the interior panels as a means of segmenting the messaging within. Additional photos are interspersed throughout the brochure as a means of further characterizing the agency’s client-base. Finally, small squares of color are interspersed in the layouts to provide visual balance and to echo the shape of the logo.

By listening to the variety of needs facing the employees and clients of Positive Impact we were able to develop one comprehensive brochure that serves them both.

View the full brochure here.