DEPRESSION IN AMERICA 

An infographic to help raise awareness about Depression in America

CONTEXT

DATE: Jan - March 2018

ROLE: Visual Designer 

PROJECT: Visually communicate the effects, statistics, and resources for depression in America

Designed by myself for Visual Information Design (INFO 362)  at the University of Washington. 

TEAM: Personal Work 

PROMPT

The goal of this project was to create an infographic to visually communicate the visual potential of the following elements: appearance, numbers, time, relationships, and location. The infographic has to follow a layout, visual, color, and typography model. See the final infographic here.

 

The topic I chose for this assignment is depression in America because this is a stigmatized topic in our society and I wanted to learn more to educate myself and help spread awareness.

PROCESS

Models 

I started off by gathering inspiration for infographics I wanted to use for my layout, visual language, color, and typography model. 

LAYOUT MODEL

VISUAL LANGUAGE MODEL

COLOR MODEL

TYPOGRAPHY MODEL

Elements 

Using the infographic models I chose for inspiration, I then went ahead and created visuals that helped show how I exploited the visual potential for the following elements: appearance, numbers, time, relationships, and location. 

 

 

Displays that exploit the visual potential of appearance 

Final Display

With this display, I am trying to inform the audience that this section of the infographic is about the different areas on the body depression can affect. I listed the common symptoms of depression and visually communicated through lines connecting each symptom and where it affects the body. 

 

 

Iterations

Design Revisions After Feedback

I made the background dark orange to fit my color model and wanted to show exactly where depression can affect the brain.

I felt that my previous dark orange background made it difficult to see other objects in my display such as the brain object or text I displayed. I wanted to make my brain image stand out which is why I decided to change the background to tan.

I decided to change my title to be more concise and add information on the various ways depression can affect the brain.

I picked a different font that stood out more from my typography model. After further research, I realized that depression does not only affect the brain but can affect the whole body. To better represent the effects of depression, I chose to display a human model and clearly explain the various effects while showing where it affects someone on the body.

Displays that exploit the visual potential of numbers 

Final Display

With this display, I’m trying to show the increasing number of suicide rates in the US. I used the length of the bar to visually represent the increasing rates of suicide each year. 

 

 

Iterations

Design Revisions After Feedback

I wanted to find a way to best visually display the number of depression-related suicides each year. I started with a line graph but later found it difficult to show the differences in suicide rates each year.

I switched over to using an isotype graph to visually display the suicide rates and also provided a key to help understand what the difference in suicides was each year. I received feedback that the isotype graph was confusing and it was hard to understand the units.

I changed my visual to horizontal bar graphs to make understanding the difference in suicide rates each year easier by showing the difference in length of the bars and updating the unit key.

I went ahead and changed my font because I thought it looked inappropriate for the topic. The new font I chose felt more neutral and appropriate. I also decided to make the bars thinner to show the difference in suicide rates more clearly. 

Displays that exploit the visual potential of time 

Final Display

With this display, I am trying to show the visual potential of time linearly by showing some of the most important discoveries made by psychologists within the past decades that have helped us understand depression.

 

 

Iterations

Design Revisions After Feedback

I chose to utilize two of my color models colors, red and orange, to represent the linear display of discoveries made over time.

I changed the colors to represent the majority of colors in my color model and help make each discovery distinctly stand out.

The display looked cluttered so I decided to spread the discoveries across two rows. I noticed that this new design affected my goal of being able to show the visual potential of time linearly.

I revamped my display and utilized only my color model’s main colors - orange and navy.  I created a simple line visual at the bottom separating each year’s major discovery to help convey the visual potential of time linearly. I made each discovery stand out by having each of the psychologist’s name be a different font from my typography model.

Displays that exploit the visual potential of relationships 

Final Display

With this display, I wanted to represent the visual potential of relationships by comparing the relationship between the cost, research, and whether or not the current depression treatments are free.

 

 

Displays that exploit the visual potential of location 

Final Display

Iterations

Design Revisions After Feedback

I started with outlined circles to show the visual potential of relationships. I noticed that the outlines of the circles and text made the display look cluttered.

I moved on to filling in the circles to reduce the clutter. I thought a Venn diagram helped convey the visual potential of relationships but the circles seemed difficult to view.

I filled in the circles to show each relationship distinctly but later found that it made individually each circle harder to view.

I chose to make each relationship between cost, research-based treatments, and whether or not a treatment was free visually be represented by an icon that clearly made each relationship distinct from one another. I also overlapped all of the treatments based on the correct relationships it corresponded to.

*figure is based on a data set from the year 2007

With this display, I wanted to represent the visual potential of relationships by comparing the relationship between the cost, research, and whether or not the current depression treatments are free.

 

 

Iterations

Design Revisions After Feedback

I started by showing a map with all the data points for mental health programs in the US. I thought my display could benefit from more colors being used from my color model.

I displayed the data points as various shades of blue from my color model. I wanted to show the difference in mental health programs between adults and adolescents and thought it would be best to utilize different colors to show the distinction.

I used the colors green and orange to help distinctly show the uneven distribution of the US mental health program across adults and adolescents.

I chose to build off of my prior design and split western and eastern US to help visually show the uneven distributions of mental health program based on the location. I felt that this display best captured the visual potential of location.

After creating multiple iterations on each element, I combined all the displays I created for the elements I worked on and built an infographic. This final infographic was created with the goal of helping others understand what depression is, how big of an issue it is, and what resources are currently available.

Clickable Final Display

Final Infographic Display 

 
Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 3.57.04 PM.png

Reflection

1. Real-World Impact

 

I did not know what to expect when I first began this project. I initially became afraid of choosing this topic for my project because I thought researching it would be too difficult to handle mentally. To my surprise, I felt empowered after educating myself on this issue and looked forward to sharing this information with my community.

This project allowed me to create a real-world impact by bringing awareness to this issue by sharing my infographic among many family and friends. My goal was to not only educate others on the issue but to also be equipped with providing themselves or others with resources to better cope with depression.

2. Future Contributions 

 

This project helped spark an interest to learn more about mental health-related issues. In 2018, I created a  website that utilized Reddit's API to display live responses from r/Depression to help spread awareness on what the experiences of people dealing with clinical/non-clinical depression looked like.  I also became involved in mental health-related research within the HCDE department and learned about the challenges a therapist and client face in designing interventions during and between therapy sessions. 

In 2019, I was privileged with the opportunity to volunteer as an Art Studio Assistant at Full Life Care, a behavioral health clinic treating geriatric patients dealing with severe mental and physical disabilities. This was an incredible experience that allowed me to learn how to be empathetic when working with a vulnerable stigmatized population and effectively catering to various needs based on different disabilities. 

I never thought this project would lead me to explore all these mental health-related opportunities. I am excited to continue learning more because this is one of the fields I am passionate towards and would like to make a difference in someday.  

3. What Would I Do Differently? 

If given more time, I would have tried to design each element's iteration with more variation. I am happy with how my final infographic turned out but I know there is always room for improvement. With more variation between each iteration, it could have possibly led to something that looked better or improved communicating a certain topic through its visuals.