My senior thesis project consisted of choosing a social issue to research and then build a campaign around. My topic was eating disorders among college students and was prompted by my school’s noticeable lack of resources for students seeking help for this particular disorder. My campaign's goal was centered around building knowledge and awareness to students about the dangers of eating disorders and its mission is to give students with eating disorders on-campus resources for support and recovery.
Visualization for my campaign began with sketching ideas for a logo and brainstorming names. I wanted my design to convey kindness, help, support, and love. I also wanted to make sure it was gender neutral in order to connect with every student.
The name REACH stuck for me because my campaign was all about reaching out to help students as well as students feeling comfortable reaching out for help. This mutual action is vital because of the stigma around eating disorders that may prevent people from seeking help. Even with my campaign in existence, it cannot survive if no one is willing to get help. The final logo design is a hand held up with a heart print on the palm. The print is meant to signify the touch and the imprint that my campaign will have on the lives of the people it helps.
A key to eliminating the stigma against eating disorders is to start talking about them. REACH will be visibly present on campus through poster signage, stickers, and temporary tattoos. I created an attention-grabbing poster series to address the topic in a positive way. It is a serious topic but the posters and imagery shouldn’t be scary or rely on fear tactics to get attention or be meaningful.
One challenge I encountered in creating imagery for this campaign was ensuring my images were gender and race neutral so as not to discriminate against anyone or target any specific group. Knowing that eating disorders can effect everyone despite differences in gender, age, race, and socio-economic class was important in the way I presented my information and designs to make them universal and impactful.
Along with a physical presence on campus, REACH will also have a digital presence by utilizing social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The images and messages will seek to start a conversation about eating disorders as well as promoting general body positivity, thereby combating the unrealistic images we so often see on these platforms.
The bulk of the information available to students will be delivered to them through the REACH App. This can be downloaded on any smart phone and users can make their own account for their specific university or college.
I designed a secondary logo, “Body Love” to serve as an additional image to promote REACH and eating disorder awareness. It was my goal that the bold, hand lettered type would grab attention and inspire others to show themselves and their classmates love and acceptance for their bodies.
I featured this logo on stickers as well as temporary tattoos which are meant to be given out to students so they can be walking advertisements for the REACH program and, more importantly, for self-love. It's not easy for someone to openly admit they have an eating disorder, so I wanted to make it easy for them to proclaim their body love and confidence to the world instead.