A rainbow of coloured paper

Insights: all things branding and design

By Kathryn Dingle 14 May 2021

We know the look and feel of the app and brand association is really important to young people engaging with it and trust it so, in our latest young person steering group we explored the branding (name, icons etc) and design for our app.

Here are some of the exercises we did and the insights we gathered. All of our sessions are remote, using a Google Jamboards and Zoom to complete the exercises.

Colour palettes:

To decide on colour palettes we ran a series of exercises: firstly looking at existing health and wellbeing apps the group already uses. We explored what they like/dislike about the colours and styling used. After this we explored share a range of colour palette mock ups of the app and voted on our preferred colours.

Key insights:

  • Colour should be used to highlight or break up key information using buttons, headers or separating lines.
  • Darker colours are preferred for dark mode only, rather than light mode.
  • Lighter colours such as yellow, aqua and purple were the preferred colours because they were seen as warm.
  • A variety of vibrant colours are preferred.
A screenshot of app with red and blue
A screenshot of app with turquoise and purple
My Best Life screen with navy blue and green
A screenshot of the different apps that young people like


For fonts, we did a similar exercise to the colour palette. The group was shown a series screenshots of the same page within the app with different fonts. They were asked to browse the images and pick their favourite. The group was really quick and decisive with this exercise!

Here are a few examples:

Screenshot of a font
Screenshot of a font

Naming the app:

For this session we started once again by exploring existing apps that the group use to understand what they like about the branding and name of those apps.

We then ran a series of exercises to explore whether we change our name or not. Firstly we shared screenshots of the app and ran a word association task, asking; when you think of this app what words come to mind? What 3 personality traits/words do you associate with it? This gave us the answers you can see in the image below. The words centred around two themes of supporting and being inclusive. Words included ‘connecting,’ ‘helpful,’ ‘friendly,’ ‘accepting,’ and ‘welcoming’.

Following this, we then attempted to merge words and ideas to create potential names. This was a much trickier exercise and we struggled to come up with ideas.

The My Best Life app with word associations such as useful, friendly, support.

Key insights:

The name needs to make sense. Vague or random words that need lots of explanation are a barrier. Vague terms are better for big brands that everyone is using, so they young people trust it. For smaller brands, a vague term is unhelpful. A name that makes sense, states who it is for, or is connected to the purpose of the app is easier.

For example, we explored the app MeeToo – the group liked the name because it is an app that allows you to speak to others going through similar things, and there is a sense that you are not alone.

“I quite like the name, because it sounds like they’ve gone through the same things”
“I feel like the name is able to link in well with the actual purpose. After reading it I see how it shows inclusion. Yeah as a safe place.”

Be careful which words you use. Once you have some ideas, you need to do some research on whether the name is available, but also whether it has any links to topics or words that are offensive. For example, we chose not to use the certain words such as hub or match because it is can lead to large amounts for spam when the word is associated with inappropriate websites.

Favicon and logo:

Following the previous exercises, we then asked them young people to think about all the words they had gather and note down or draw how they would visual that as an object/symbol/texture.

Icon association ideas with the app such as a young person, a book, a path

Key insights:

Diversity and inclusion are important within branding. The young people are looking to see inclusive photos and graphics. An example includes; if creating a logo of hands holding each other then it should ensure that a range of ethnicities are included.
Icons should link to the purpose of the app too.

I hope these insights are useful. We would love to hear whether you have heard the same or have any insights to add.