MQ Mental Health

A Responsible Transformation


The Challenge

MQ is the first major charity in the UK focused on mental health research.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust in 2013, they had an existing identity but it needed refinement and maturity as the charity continued to grow. Our task was to evolve and build the brand using the assets already created.


The Solution

Initially we worked with the market research company IPSOS to test the strength of the charities communications, and find out which messages best resonated with audiences.

This testing revealed how little people understood the need for mental health research and the difficulty people faced communicating this very personal subject. Mental health is something we all experience in different ways, so creating a unifying communication for something so personal was challenging. 

Naming was not in the scope however, it became clear through research that communicating the meaning of ‘MQ’ to the public needed to be addressed. As a very new charity MQ needed to be clear about who they are and what they do. So we introduced ‘transformation through research’ into the heart of the brand.

We refined the rules for using the assets of the brand, simplifying the colour palate, giving rules to the ‘highlighter’ device and refining the font use to reflect the maturity of the charity. We also explored and developed guidelines around the tone of voice used in communications. As a sensitive and personal topic the language needed to communicate the hope and benefits of mental health research in a clear and personable way.

The brand work included the development of a photography style, putting people at the centre of communications. This photography style seeks to break new territory for mental health communications, avoiding any ‘head clutching’ photography but instead putting the subject in a prominent and confident position.

The brand evolution was well imbedded within the MQ charity team, through numerous team workshops and presentations, to ensure everyone in the charity can bring it to life.


The Impact

“They took a complex issue with a wide range of stakeholders and helped us distill it with clarity and creativity. It’s because of their insight and tenacity that we now have a fresh, modern identity that everyone connected to, or affected by mental illness can get behind.

Georgia Bridgewood, Head of Marketing and Supporter Development, MQ.