Beyond Blue: Creating for Mental Health Awareness

May is filled with many things: including Justin Timberlake memes, Star Wars Day, and two bank holidays this year. But most importantly it’s Mental Health Awareness month, a cause super close to our hearts here at thortful. We’re privileged to be in a position to help people check in with their friends, so all throughout the month we’ll be placing a special highlight on cards from our Are You Ok? range.

Want to be a part of that particular range, but aren’t sure how to create designs with more emotional impact? You’re in the right place. As well as, of course, following our best practices for designing, there are a number of things to take extra care with when discussing mental health. Here are 5 different ways to approach cards surrounding mental health, and our top tips for each.

1. Distance

People are likely to send a card if they can’t be with them in person (remember lockdown?!). Designs that reflect this, and attempt to cover the distance with a card, perform really well commercially. This card by Poppy Lane (left), for example, has had over 1,200 sales, and this card by Always Sparkle (right) has sold over 3,000 times.

Card 1: I may be too far away to hold your hand, but you are not alone and I'm not going anywhere. Card 2: I wish I could be there for you right now but I hope this great *big hug* inside this little card will brighten your day until I can give you a real hug

2. Validation

A really important thing to ensure when designing a card for mental health is that it doesn’t trivialise the topic or experience. It’s both upsetting and frustrating to have your mental illness not taken seriously – it’s not something that can be fixed by a walk or just ‘cheering up’! This card by Abbie Imagine does a great job at writing an encouraging message, without patronising. Another great example is this card by Mellow Doodles – who is a great creator to look at for mental health related content.

Left Card: It's okay to feel sad sometimes. You're doing your best and that's always enough. Right Card: You're doing so well/ Just keep taking one day at a time.

3. Words of Affirmation

Sometimes the right words are hard to find, and we know that our customers love a card that helps with this. Combine your brilliant design skills with some heartfelt words, and you’re onto a winner! We love this card by Jessica Rachel Sharp (left), as well as this design by Wild Card (right). 

4. A gentle pick-me-up

On the other hand, not everyone wants to be soppy, and not all mental health check-ins have to be all that serious. We want everyone to check-in with their friends, so if gentle humour is more your bag, that can work well too. Some good demonstrations of this are this card by Rosie Made A Thing (left), and this one by Aimee Stevens Design (right). 

5. Here to listen

Sometimes all you need to do is let them know you’re there for them, whenever they’re ready to talk. Encouraging people to talk about mental health also always works well as social media content, reaching people far and wide – this card by Made By Mayfly (left) received huge engagement on our social channels a while back, and has sold over 1,000 times too. We also love this card by Fliss Muir (right).

We hope this has given you some ideas for some card designs that tackle more emotional situations – if so, you can upload your designs here. Alternatively if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] – we’re all ears, always.

Team thortful