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How to use the wellness creative palette in your brand design

Wellness is a trend that we have had to sit up and take notice of – it is a shift that is here to stay. And it’s been noted that when it comes to buying into ‘wellness brands’ the consumer takes more time to make those purchasing decisions.

What is wellness design?

I am completely consumed by the wellness world or more holistically, wellbeing. At night, after listening to headspace, popping a magnesium tablet, I squeeze in my earplugs to drown out my own snoring, hunker down on the memory foam phone mattress and fall to sleep, not before a quick wave of my arm to trick my Fitbit into thinking I’ve completed 10,000 steps. And this is just a 5-minute snapshot of my day! My ‘wellness journey’ is taking over and I’m not alone. 

An increasing number of us are in a never-ending cycle of self-improvement; with brands finding new ways to increase our overall ‘wellbeing’ at different points in our week. Millennials, more than anyone, are increasingly seeking new opportunities to improve their physical and mental health, so it’s no surprise that the overall ‘self-improvement’ industry generates over $10billion a year globally. From waking up to your daily juice subscription, downing your shot of Fairtrade compostable coffee right through to cooking your organic vegan recipe box in the evening… with every step, glass of water and calorie being tracked throughout the day; there is something (or all of it) for everyone.

How design impacts wellness

As the market becomes more saturated across categories, the role of design becomes increasingly important. Having to disrupt the category, deliver a clear (and better) benefit than competitors, as well as engaging with the consumer on levels beyond the point of sale. Gone are the days of thinking you are making a healthier choice just because the product has a faux brown paper texture and distressed type. 

The wellness creative palette is diverse and therefore design becomes a bit of a balancing act. Historically the creative branding principles are similar to that of a bank: a trustworthy, authoritative and uncomplicated aesthetic. But now almost anything goes, I mean who would have guessed some quirky little characters would help Headspace demystify the practise of meditating. Wait for it… the app has been loaded 62 million times in 190 countries.

Key considerations for wellness design

To enter the wellness space and play across multiple platforms, you need to choose your positioning and brand accordingly AND of course you will need to be sustainable, have a great brand purpose, with any claims supported and backed by professionals.

When looking at the wellness space across categories, it is clear that design needs to take one of THREE main territories and you need to be very single-minded about whichever you choose for your brand:

Headline claims

This is fitting for brands who have functional added benefit or preventative offerings; those who can improve health by highlighting the ‘WHAT’ rather than the ‘WHY’. Executed correctly, this kind of headline can feel reassuring and efficacious, particularly in more traditional categories where a bold claim can be seen as disruptive e.g., a yoghurt which lowers cholesterol.

Less is more

A simplified aesthetic gives the impression of honesty and simplicity. A careful balance of the WHAT and the WHY. Often born from the more functional space or direct-to-consumer models but given a more approachable and potentially stylish aesthetic.

Real character

Whether it be driven by the founders or a bold tone of voice, this approach allows a brand to live within the emergent end of the spectrum. Disrupting the discourse with a more emotional and evocative voice, this territory is one that fits really well beyond the purchasing opportunity, e.g. founder-led brands being able to literally talk to their audience on social media platforms.

How to grow a wellness brand

Consistent delivery of your brand and wellness message is what people will remember. But consistency shouldn’t mean repetition. Founders need to make sure the brand is flexible enough to evolve with us. Challenger brands will now often have their first consumer interaction ‘in motion’; sometimes branding has to live on a piece of packaging but those elements which create the design began life through animations or stop motion, living and breathing in an online world. A lesson that breathing life into your brand is more relevant than ever when part of this category. Static just won’t cut it. In the offline world this means that by the time a product arrives on your doorstep (and you’re photographed retrieving it with your dressing gown at midday) the product has been imbued with a much richer meaning.

There are huge opportunities across the wellness and holistic wellbeing space; ones that allow us to make our bodies and the world a better place to live. Consumers entering the wellness space want to feel good about their purchasing decisions, so if brands can help us make better decisions more often, then we all stand a chance of improving our own personal ‘wellness journeys’.


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