Moving from intimidating to emotive

Project Scope

Brand Identity Design
Brand Strategy
Graphic Design
Website Design and Development
Brand Photography
Art Direction

A river winding through a forest

EMDR Australia is Dr Gillian Maddock's dream to create a Community of Clinicians and end the isolation felt by professionals when they reach a high level. Giving clinicians calmness, clarity and confidence.

Her mission is to deliver better training, supervision, and consultations, build a skilled workforce and unite clinicians to reduce the sense of competition, so people get better. Her vision is to create collaborative and peaceful societies that our children want to live in.

She wants to effect change beyond her 1:1 clinical interactions. If she can help 20 people per week and supervise 4 others with 20 clients, they will impact 100 people per week. Imagine that scaled up.

The Problem

In our first meeting, Gillian told us that she had an image problem. Her assertive mannerism makes her intimidating. We knew her as Gillian from the gym. A charismatic, bubbly person that always put a smile on everyone's face. We had no idea that she was a leading EMDR Psychologist. And frankly, it didn't matter to us.

We needed to shift this and instead focus on that warm, humble, cheerful mannerism that friends, family and we see.

The Solution

As part of the strategy, we outlined how the brand can use softer visual aesthetics - spaciousness, timeliness, efficiency, and elegance to create a visual that amplified her personality.

We were shooting for a neutral brand identity, that was classic, modern, gender neutral, sophisticated, mature and light.

This formed a solid visual brief that we could moodboard. From 2 moodboard concepts, we combined and refined, making a moodboard that fed the ideas we had. 

Now this is important. During feedback on the moodboards, Gillian told us of an analogy she uses to explain to clients what EMDR psychology is.

"We are all born with an innate mind, our psyche, that moves in one direction (towards healing). It is like a river in that if nothing impedes it, it has a natural flow that cannot be stopped, and it always flows in one direction. It is called the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) system. When a traumatic event occurs, it's like debris falling in the river. The river cannot flow easily and process information. Instead, information gets stuck. This is the development of a maladaptively stored memory system. EMDR clears the debris, and the river naturally flows."

This is pivotal. The mix of science, nature and re-aligning what's important to people brings everything together. Everything we do visually stems from this.

Reconnecting with nature is integral to Gillian's world, so we incorporate this feeling in the copy, imagery and colour palettes.

moodboard describing the colours, textures, fonts and photography used
moodboard describing the colours, textures, fonts and photography used
early sketches of the eyes, rivers and logos associated with the brand.
the brand identity, includes logos, colour palette, design styles and marketing collateral
the EMDR australia homepage
Gillian Maddock, EMDR Psychologist sat relaxing on a sofa in a blue dress.
Gillian Maddock, EMDR Psychologist sat relaxing on a sofa in a blue dress, next to her therapy dog
gillian practicing EMDR psychotherapy with a patient. she uses two fingers to lead the patients eyes
the therapy dog with a neckerchief on it
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The Results

No matter the project, we love sketching out ideas. There's no better way to formulate designs.

We sketched out a hand-drawn typeface to soften Gillian's perceived intimidating appearance. Along with a logo that focused on the 8 sections of EMDR therapy; and another option that was a brain with two hemispheres, split by a river.

Both illustrate EMDR therapy, but the winner was the river, as it is specific to Gillian's work. The hand-drawn typography was replaced with a classic serif font and accompanied by a simple, easy-to-read sans-serif font.

This all got pieced together with a natural colour palette of greys, browns and greens. Using rivers and shapes to create focal points across the website.

This is just the beginning of the project. There's so many more exciting developments to come.


Before reaching out to you, I was worried about the cost and being able to establish a usable brand in the time I had budgeted for.

But, I felt supported in the process, and you got back to me quickly and efficiently, which suited me well. You were responsive to my suggestions and were open to the evolution of the brand. It has been great working with you, and I love what we have developed.

I have loved working with you so much. I recommended you recently to a colleague in NZ. You are prompt, no fuss, effective, supportive, creative and intuitive. You and your service is worth every cent.

Thank you SO much Martin. The working relationship with you makes me feel really supported. I don’t think I could have gotten to this stage without being able to bounce business stuff around. What you do is very specialised!

Dr. Gillian Maddock, EMDR Australia
a lady sits on a brown couch in an office. dressed in a green dress

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