Responses by Alex Normanton, creative director, copywriter and designer.
Background: We all talk about mental wellness, but no one talks about “creative wellness.” The Department of Pro-Activeness (DOPA) is a brand and podcast that fuels conversations around creative wellness and puts positivity back into the hearts, minds and ears of people working within the creative industry, a brand created to enable candid conversations around specific topics—i.e., fear, self-doubt and failure—and ultimately facilitate change.
Design thinking: For DOPA, the identity needed to resemble an official governing body that brought credibility, a sense of establishment and ultimately empowerment. The D monogram contains simple shapes that represent each letter of the DOPA acronym. These shapes form a flexible visual language system for creating engaging print, digital and motion content.
The brand identity is flexible, modular, and simple to adapt from a small social avatar to the overall visual language. Also hidden within the monogram is a play icon waiting to be pressed, which feels super relevant for the brand's context and content.
Challenges: Putting myself out there after retreating from the industry and being in a social media wilderness for more than a year. Being open, vulnerable and honest has been part of the project’s success and refreshing for people to hear. This helps the project be genuinely authentic. Projects born out of personal and professional experiences always resonate with people.
Favorite details: The most important factor is that people genuinely gain encouragement, positivity and renewed energy from the podcast episodes and social content. It was established to inject positivity back into the hearts, minds, ears and ultimately the ideas of people working within the creative industry.
I was also recently notified that the project picked up a Silver Design Award at Graphis 2021 in the branding category. I’m humbled by the accolade, and it has renewed my confidence in my own work as a creative director and designer.
Time constraints: The challenge with self-initiated projects is that there is no deadline. The project was floating around in my head for some time. A self-imposed deadline was required. April 7th, World Health Day, became the launch date. This quickly became a labor of love, as I was working around the clock for several weeks to get everything ready for launch.
There’s something about a self-enforced deadline to help you focus and sift through initial ideas to get clarity. An intuitive approach and an intrinsic gut feel for what felt appropriate was needed alongside copious amounts of black coffee (and the odd beer or two.)