Every year over 6,000 people in the UK take their own lives. The Campaign Against Living Miserably exists to change that. Together we created the next iteration of the brand so that CALM can reach more people struggling with life, and unite the UK against suicide. A brand that can fight for change and make you laugh, help someone in crisis and support anyone struggling with life.
“We’re a charity built from the power of its supporters and being there for everyone.”
Simon Gunning CEO, CALM
United against suicide
CALM is a helpline and webchat, an online resource, content creator and campaigner. Its people spark change, give advice, start conversations, organise events and build communities. Our goal was to create a visual and verbal identity system with enough flexibility to cover it all.
Irreverent, bullish and empathetic. Everything the brand does is rooted in its character. All three traits are always present, dialled up and down depending on the message. The logo is a bold statement of CALM’s mission and we used its extruded text style to define the graphic language beyond it. Together, the character and ownable design language give the flexibility the brand needs, without losing cohesion — so all applications and experiences look and feel unmistakably CALM.
Here to help, no matter what
People come to CALM for support. They may be struggling, in crisis or recently bereaved. Those needs are at the heart of every design decision: the brand has to be accessible, make everyone feel safe and understood. Mixing cuts and weights of the typeface ‘Obviously’, from Oh no Type Company, allows CALM to augment messages creatively, but reduce for sensitive information where function is the priority. Three colour palettes, one for each character trait, can be combined to stand out boldly, or toned down to encourage people to open up.
Real human connection
CALM talk about grief and suicide without tip-toeing, and reject ‘us and them’ narratives of the strong helping the weak. We’ve closed the distance between the organisation and anyone interacting with it by embracing reality and human connection in the visual identity. Physical textures and hand-drawn scribbles place the brand in the real world, frame devices hero true stories, and illustrations communicate tough subjects. Irreverence and a sense of defiance runs through it all, avoiding mental health tropes and anything twee. So difficult topics are covered, the CALM way.
Power to unite
CALM is a charity built from the power of its community, bringing people together to run, cycle, bake, laugh, volunteer, raise money, game, play football — anything and everything against living miserably. To get people involved, motivated and excited, the brand system ramps up to its most bullish and irreverent — focusing on life and the reasons for living, creating the momentum and energy needed to unite more people against suicide.
Reaching people through life
By making things people want to engage with and be entertained by, CALM acts as a Trojan Horse into talking about suicide and mental health. We’ve built a ‘brand+’ element to the system to support this kind of content. Building from the core brand, the assets and logo use design codes relevant to the message, making each one aesthetically distinctive and expressive. The goal is to get people talking sooner, before they reach a crisis point, get help when they need it and don’t die by suicide.
“CALM needs to be noticed. We can’t tackle suicide quietly. Output recognised CALM’s unique characteristics and developed them into a stunningly vibrant and super-flexible identity. We’ve now got a tonne of tools that enable us to stand out and convey hope, optimism and empathy in more ways than ever — be it on a pub toilet door poster, a bus stop ad, or a Twitter post. It’s a perfect, natural progression for CALM and we couldn’t be more excited for the future.”
Sam Quinton Lead Creative, CALM
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