OURS Pivot (and what it meant for design)
When I first joined Ours in February 2023, the online platform was a hub for educational content around premarital counseling. Ours paired async sessions and two live sessions with a Guide, who was a trained mental health professional. The branding was fun, fresh, and intentionally unserious to disarm the stigma around couples therapy. But to be clear, Ours wasn’t ‘real therapy’ by definition – it was coaching and content for one point in time. Fast forward a couple of months and Ours pivoted from an educational platform to a ‘real therapy’ hub…
Written by: Clio Dill, Head of Design
Clio joined Ours in February 2023. She previously worked at Nectar, Hims&Hers, Ritual and Seed at the intersection of brand and product.
What did this mean for design? A completely new product from scratch — think client portal, therapist portal, admin portal, and all the flows in between — plus potentially a new brand…which would also mean a new website and updated photoshoot. All to be designed in 6 months.
The process was far from linear but with the design system I inherited, we were not built up for success in terms of accessibility and responsiveness. So, the updated design system was something I worked on in tandem, with designing the logged-in experience. Since many of the components had to be redone, the brand naturally evolved.
Once the product was in a workable spot, we did a sprint on what the future brand could be. While the old branding was awesome, and it truly was, it didn’t quite encapsulate the new direction that founders Jess & Adam wanted to take the company. They wanted OURS to emulate professionalism as we were now HIPAA-compliant (thanks to Tyler) and were aspiring to compete with the big names in the therapy business.
I did my best to take us through an expedited brand sprint. We maintained the font Neue Montreal and the beige color, but changed everything else.
In the ideation phase, I did a number of logo explorations…
Concept 01: pixelated heart – represented digital couples therapy
Concept 02: Hand drawn – is a nod to love letters shared between a couple as well as the act of journaling, commonly used in reflection
Concept 03: Building blocks – represented the idea that there are many ways to build your relationship, no one size fits all approach works
After we were gravitating toward the handwritten option, I brought my friend and artist Cori Maass in to help. She brought the Ours logo to life with an animated illustration of the hand-drawn name and rose. I loved the idea of incorporating a rose into the brand because I could see how the stages of a rose could reflect a mini OURS session: discussing the rose (area a couple is flourishing in), bud (area a couple is improving in) and thorn (where the couple needs help). In a perfect world, we would tie that into the product experience – and we would be able to create an RBT in app for couples to document their progress.
A big gaping hole in the brand was art direction. In the ideation phases, I gathered videos from friends in relationships to piece together a cut. I really wanted to show real, authentic couples to step away from the staged in-studio photography that proliferates the internet.
See here, oof… this is what you see when you Google Images ‘couples therapy’:
Previously, the brand relied upon illustration and color to stand out but we needed assets to make the new evolution feel human. I loved the nostalgic, intimate feel of film — it felt like something you’d find in a bedroom drawer. I created an interview questionnaire (inspired by 0.4 times), to bring real life couples into the Ours experience. The stories shared on P(ROSE) brought a human feel into the brand and also gave couples the chance to reflect on their relationship in a structured way, similar to a mini session.
While I was in search for a photography partner, I stumbled across Vivian Kim’s Sunny Days on Vimeo. It was perfect. It felt nostalgic, aspirational, and real. We would later do a shoot with her in New York with three real-life couples… The team crushed it.
As for the red, this color actually was an error color for a previous design system but it was a perfect balance of striking without being too alarming. #BF5151
WIP Brand Guidelines
Here are the current brand guidelines. I made an OURS font that used the hand-drawn letters from our logo. The guidelines are still a work-in-progress and as my old boss Dan Kenger used to say, “the canvas is always wet.”
The product was designed in tandem, as we developed the brand. There were three dashboards to design: Client (the couple), Therapist, and Admin view. Legends Tyler Zey & Victor Harrington brought these to life.
Therapist Dashboard view
Therapists can take notes, manage their calendar, message, and more on their dashboard. There’s even a Privacy button so that they can keep patient info confidential when working away from the office.
This is the flow clients go through when signing up for Ours. (We have another one for therapists.)
Select a therapist (future state)
This is currently being developed but shows therapists profiles, in a digestible and human manner.
In App (Rose Bud Thorn)
The goal of this was to help couples get started with Ours, with or without a therapist. RBTs are akin to mini therapy sessions, where couples reflect on where they are flourishing (rose), growing (bud), and need to improve (thorn.) This was a quick and dirty v1, more to come…
In App (Card Decks)
With an account, you can access card decks which act as conversation starters between you and your partner.
In App (Therapy session)
Once you’ve been assigned a therapist, access Ours anywhere.
Dashboard Home (Client)
Last, but not least, we have a meta experience reading about the website on the website. For this we worked The Holdings Co., with brilliant team Chris and Joel. Chris made all my dreams come to life on the site: animating a 3D render of the computer opening, a branded cursor that changes color, and animated gifs galore.
And that’s all for now!
It’s been a wild 6 months but grateful for the support of the Ours team and especially Adam and Jess trusting me to bring the vision to life.