To help people better understand depression, the world’s most common form of mental illness, graphic designer Nick Barclay has created a series of posters abstractly visualizing six major symptoms. Using a limited color palette of green, black, and white, he illustrates isolation, withdrawal, dread, (lack of) hope, (lack of) clarity, and confusion as simple geometric shapes. His patterns and compositions are poetic and symbolic: Isolation is a single black circle in a group of green circles; lack of hope is a black hole at the center of a green and white bullseye; confusion is a criss-crossed web of lines, like the tangled thoughts that characterize the disorder.
“So many people suffer in silence without even realizing they have depression,” Barclay tells Co.Design in an email. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and many sufferers don’t get the treatment they need. “I wanted to show some of the signs and feelings that occur when you are going through depression, so that someone who is feeling them can maybe become aware they are suffering.”
The posters are available for free download on Barclay’s website.