Recently we started doing monthly design challenges with the students in our community, encouraging them to flex their design skills and get creative outside of their coursework. For May—Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States—we asked students to design a poster that reimagines how we talk about and approach mental health.

We’re proud of the work our students produced and want to share it with our wider community of readers. Here are the top submissions for this challenge as determined by the Designlab internal team and community voting…

1st Place Winner 🥇

May Design Challenge 1

“For this poster, I wanted to explore a concept that strictly relied on visuals instead of any typographic explanations. I always felt that mental health was something that many people push away to deal with ‘at another time’ because it isn't always a tangible issue, and sometimes much easier to just sweep under the rug. I wanted to change the narrative of how we see the mysteriousness of our brain functions, and that dealing with our mental health is ‘difficult’ by illustrating that our mental health is something that needs to be checked in on and up-kept with, just as we deal with our physical ailments.” - Izzie Kim, UX Academy Foundations June ‘21

2nd Place Winner 🥈

May Design Challenge 2

“I wanted to make a design related to masculinity and emotional expression. I think we've come a long way societally in the past few years, but in many communities—especially ones of color, there's still a lot of stigma around emotional men. My poster is a little reminder that it's ok to cry 😢” - Anthony Zhao, Hisui cohort

3rd Place Runner Up

May Design Challenge 3

“While we've made progress in recent years, I still feel like talking about mental health is still somewhat stigmatized despite being something we all maintain on a daily basis. Due to this, I designed a poster that's meant to convey both the timelessness and always prevalent nature of mental health. With this all in mind, I included the tagline ‘So let's talk about it.’ because I think talking about mental health should be approached as more of a casual yet still caring conversation.” - Lilly King, Aicher cohort

4th Place Runner Up

May Design Challenge 4

“Our feelings can leave us in places where we feel too alone and alienated to reach out and that, even if we tried, there might not be someone who cares enough to listen. Emotions are like waves, sometimes they're big waves and they take us down, sometimes they lift us up. In all of those moments, as hard as it might be to do so, it’s important to remember that what we are feeling is important, and we deserve to be heard. My design is a representation of these waves, and hopefully a rescue-swimmer of a reminder that we're not alone.” - Julie Grantz, Janoff cohort

5th Place Runner Up

May Design Challenge 5

“I know I'm not alone in saying that my relationship to the news has changed over the last year, and I often struggle to remain engaged without feeling hopeless and helpless. Mariame Kaba is an activist and grassroots organizer whom I deeply admire, and her philosophy toward making change has helped me reimagine how to take care of my mental health when so much feels out of my control. ‘Hope is a discipline’ is about appreciating the small steps we make each day instead of beating ourselves up for not being at the ‘finish line.’ It's about the freedom we experience when we allow ourselves to not have all the answers and instead embrace imperfection, experimentation, and imagination in our pursuit of a better world.” - Cat Tran, Fairey cohort

6th Place Runner Up

May Design Challenge 6

“Mental Health is about a balance of happiness and sadness.You can't always be happy, however being unhappy most of the time creates an imbalance of your wellbeing. I believe the secret to a good life is to make sure you are calm and true to yourself.” - Maria Thomson, Chwast cohort

Thank you to everyone who participated in this design challenge and congratulations to our finalists and winners! Keep a lookout for our next design challenge on Slack and email 👀

To learn UX design through an education provider that emphasizes the importance of community through fun events like these design challenges, we encourage you to explore our UX Academy program.

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