Transforming the health and wellness category

Bloom was born out of the need to think, feel, and do better. When founders Leon Mueller and Daniel Lohse moved to New York from Germany in early 2019, they experienced firsthand how difficult it can be to find suitable mental health resources. Driven to inspire and incite change, the duo launched the self-therapy app Bloom later that year. After teaming up with a leading psychologist and best-selling author specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the Bloom team turned his insights into a personalized, self-guided interactive video therapy experience — all powered by pioneering technology.

Since Bloom’s release, Mueller & Lohse have had only one goal in mind: make world-class mental health resources accessible to everyone, everywhere. As Bloom continued to gain traction around the world (the app currently has over 1.5M users) and win awards — App of the Day by Apple, 2022 Product Awards by Products That Count, and Best Wellness App by Vogue — its founders felt it was time for a refresh. So, they asked Big Human to lead a collaborative rebranding effort that better reflected their values and better served their users. What we created with Bloom also helped reshape our internal branding strategy along the way.

  • Research
  • Strategy
  • Branding
  • Brand Positioning
  • Messaging
  • UX/UI Design

Research and Strategy

Identifying socio-emotional nuances

Working closely with our clients is part of every project, but the partnership Big Human had with Bloom was particularly special. Usually, clients come looking for specific recommendations or outputs and we, of course, deliver. But for Bloom’s founders, this was as much of a passion project as it was a business, and that was something we knew we had to honor.

The discovery phase included a landscape analysis and interviews with stakeholders. Meetings are always meant to be interactive, but our conversations with the Bloom team turned into thoughtful workshops where we’d surface interesting, human-oriented revelations. For example, in one workshop, a team member used the term “slow healing” to describe the way Bloom helps its users. Instead of promising a quick fix, Bloom provides people with the tools they need to achieve a steady state of mental well-being. These socio-emotional subtleties laid the groundwork for our branding strategy and informed every decision we made throughout the entire process. 

Positioning and Messaging

Transforming the category

Bloom is a therapy app that doesn’t necessarily identify as a therapy app. The app may give its users an integrative, backed-by-science experience, but the Bloom team wanted to broaden the scope and make moves toward something more. Essentially, Bloom is on a mission to empower everyone to realize and actualize their potential — no matter who or where they are. The noble goal needed a descriptor that was straightforward but captured its nuances.

After combing through competitors, we recognized the promise of self-empowerment was unique to Bloom. That led us to a single declarative statement: Bloom is a self-empowerment company. Bloom offers people closer insights into their own mental well-being, giving them an avenue to truly understand themselves. This reframing then informed Bloom’s brand characteristics, values, and mission and vision statements.

Characterizing a worldview

As Bloom’s mission and vision formed, it was clear their target audience was as broad as it was diverse. To best capture Bloom’s “everyone, everywhere” perspective, we identified a worldview that underpinned all of their users’ outlooks. The Bloom audience shares a Self-Growth Optimist mindset. They’re lifelong learners who are naturally curious and instinctively resourceful. They’re self-aware and understand that growth is a lifelong journey — one they captain themselves.

A deeper dive into this worldview uncovered three audience archetypes, each with their own stories to share. The Techy Seeker is a naturally enterprising doer and achiever encouraged by goal-setting and achievements; the Underdog is determined to defy the odds, believing in their ability to affect change within themselves and the people around them; and the Spiritual Wellness Warrior embraces life and all of its challenges, so long as they have an inclusive space to be as they are.

Though each archetype is different, they remain connected through their shared Self-Growth Optimist mindset. The mindset and personifications put Bloom's beliefs into practice, serving as internal references for all external communications. Bloom’s brand guidelines included messaging and tone of voice rules, dos and don’ts, boilerplate copy, and narrative manifestos that brought each audience archetype to life.


Formalizing the design concept

As with many of our branding projects, we use contextualized design concepts called “territories.” Since the branding starting point is a blank slate with infinite possibilities, territories allow us to thematically explore a brand’s many facets and then narrow the funnel to find the most accurate representation. We shared four possible directions with the Bloom team: Pragmatic Process, Paradigm Shift, Guided Ascent, and Structured Selfing. They were presented with a write-up, a prologue that set the stage for each visual identity and explained what made them distinct.

When we began the brand designs, one of Bloom’s characteristics was “cutting-edge.” The term spoke to its best-in-class tools and science-focused approach to therapy, but it made our initial designs too neon and techy. So, we swapped “cutting-edge” with “modern” to bring in some warmth and signify how Bloom uses technology to meet users’ needs. The switch helped formalize Bloom’s visual identity — one that’s built on science but inspired by humanity.

The final brand deliverables included guidelines for color usage and ratios, accessibility requirements, illustrations, typography, photography, social media avatars, and mockups of reskinned product screens.

Breathing new life into the logo

The blending of science and well-being is inherent to the Bloom brand. The company and its users appreciate wellness practices rooted in scientific inquiry and research, so that delicate balance needed to show through in the logo and wordmark. Taking inspiration from the name Bloom, our initial designs were abstract, floral icons.

But then we discovered the trefoil knot. Only possible with mathematical theory, the trefoil knot is the clearest example of a nontrivial knot. In its 3D form, the trefoil knot is impossible to untie without cutting. We adapted the knot to make the Bloom Blossom, fashioned by a continuous line that mirrors the endless possibilities of self-transformation. If the mathematical equation for the trefoil knot is tweaked, it creates infinite variations of the original. That inspired us to design several 3D versions that can be used in a variety of ways, including an animated knot that expands and contracts as users practice breathing exercises in the app. The loops in the logo were translated into the loopy “L” in the Bloom wordmark as well.

The Bloom app also has daily check-ins where users can express how they’re feeling with emojis. We used emojis to introduce the new Bloom mascot Bloo. The Bloo name is one letter short of Bloom, expressing that self-empowerment and self-transformation are always works in progress. Bloo replaced all other emojis in the app and can also be used in marketing materials.


Looking toward the future

With over 1.5 million users on the app, Bloom continues to support people on the journey toward becoming. The Bloom and Big Human teams plan to collaborate in the future on additional projects.