New Year, New Logo: Q and A With Ashley Drake
Graphics and Article By: Ashley Drake
1. Welcome to the Depression Army blog, Ashley! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hey there! I’m Ashley, and I’m a 24 year old graphic designer living in New England. I also have a day job as an accountant at a garbage removal company (#glam).
2. How did you first hear about the Depression Army?
I heard about it through a post about the Depression Army Field Guide that invited readers to share their experiences with depression and I love talking about myself, so I went for it and got involved through that.
3. You did a fantastic job designing the new Depression Army logo, it looks great! Can you tell us a bit about the design process/ the inspiration for the design?
Thank you! The main goal I had in redesigning the logo was to make it feel inclusive. With most branding related to mental health the focus is on how much better everything will be with this organization or that medication and the actual struggle ends up being glossed over. It’s hard for people who are feeling hopeless to relate when their negative emotions aren’t being acknowledged.
I decided to play up the “army” part of Depression Army because it implies that those dealing with depression are tough and the issue itself is a constant battle, and that’s pretty universal. Depression is always going to be hard to deal with.
For inspiration I looked at a lot of minimalist art about difficult topics like addiction and vintage military documents. The font is actually one that was used on a lot of real military field guides around the 60’s and 70’s. At first I was resisting stencil typography because it seemed too obvious and lame, but after doing a lot of research and sketching it became clear that making something subtly stencil-like was the best option. I’m happy with how it turned out.
4. Can you tell us about your own journey with mental health?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety. It’s difficult to convey the weight of it in a few sentences, but up until last year it was bad. Most people probably didn’t realize how intense it was because I did most of the things healthy people do (school, work, etc.), but that’s pretty much all I did. I was always distracted. Looking back on it now I have no idea how I lived that way.
After trying a lot of different treatments I found one that worked last year. It felt bizarre because even though it was a process, the improvement seemed to hit me all at once. One day I was spacing out and thought, “Holy shit, I don’t want to die anymore.” And that was it. It was like somebody suddenly removed half the negative feelings I had been stewing in for my entire life. I felt empty, but also really excited and overwhelmed because I could just do things without having them be an ordeal. I still get depressed, but it’s much easier to deal with since I’m not depressed every single day. Basically: it’s really weird, but really nice.
5. We are so excited to have a Depression Army badge that can be uploaded to Twitter and Facebook profile pictures! Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration for the badge?
Sure! When I was asked to make something people could apply to their profile pictures I had no idea what to do. A lot of similar social media campaigns are very loud– the entire image is usually dominated by a filter. Sticking a huge filter over somebody’s face to start a conversation about depression seemed meaningless and counterintuitive.
Also: it just looked stupid.
Depression Army had done a badge previously and that was a more tactful solution. Nobody is hidden by the filter, it’s gentle without being weak, and it references military badges which keeps it relevant to Depression Army specifically.
6. How can someone upload the badge to their profile?
It’s super easy! Just go on Twibbon, click “Login to Add Twibbon”, and follow the directions that appear. It takes a grand total of maybe ten seconds.
7. If you could tell our audience anything, what would you tell them?
Even if it doesn’t get better, it gets easier to deal with.