The Perfectly Imperfect Project

The Perfectly Imperfect Project encompasses a 4-part project to bring awareness of mental health, perfectionism, and self doubt within the ballet industry.

Part 1: Poster

I chose to focus my poster design around the topic of mental health in ballet dancers because it is a topic that is close to my heart as I personally grew up dancing ballet for 16 years and have faced my own challenges with my mental health due to the lack of mental health awareness in the ballet industry.

The dance world is full of so much beauty, grace, elegance, strength, and talent, however there is an immense amount of negativity, comparison, and toxicity that comes with the good. Growing up being classically trained in ballet and pointe, I have first hand experienced the effects of the lack of discussions around mental illnesses, body image, perfectionism, and other mental health related issues in the ballet world, and I believe that needs to change.

With this poster design, I hope to bring attention to the unhealthy need to be “perfect” that many ballet dancers experience. This serves to educate dancers on

  • the different types of perfectionisms

  • how they can re-frame their mindsets around needing to be perfect, the fact that they are still imperfect human beings that deserve rest, space, and less pressure on themselves

The design involves a bold and hooking title to bring the viewer in and encourage them to continue reading about this topic, as well as a simple illustration of pointe shoes to serve as a familiar visual to dancers and ballet dancers if they see the poster on a wall between classes or posted on social media on their phone screens. This poster aims to spark conversations for the well being of dancers’ minds and bodies.

Part 2: Icons

The topic of mental health in general, but especially in the ballet world, is something that isn’t discussed or talked about enough. This project aids in finding solutions to this major issue of a lack of conversations around this topic and hope to “normalize” these discussions through easy-to-use and simple icons.

My 5 icons represent “finding balance”, “body image”, “breaking the standards”, “pressure”, and “perfectionism”, all topics of which ballet dancers may experience or struggle with in their dance careers and life outside the studio.

I decided to maintain the color scheme from my original poster to create a consistent and coherent message among all the icons I have designed.

These icons are meant to serve as a widely used “mirror affirmation” type of object. They can be stuck on mirrors or personal items, such as notebooks, to serve as small, but consistent, reminders to take care of yourself. Additionally, they demonstrate that it’s ok and normal to feel negatively or conflicted within ourselves as humans and dancers, but we don’t need to hide them from the world.

Part 3: The Campaign

This campaign serves to spread awareness of mental health in ballet dancers, specifically focusing specifically on the intense perfectionism that ballet dancers often experience.

Through a collaborated campaign with BLOCH, a world renowned dance wear brand, and my campaign brand, the Perfectly Imperfect Project, discussions of mental health in the ballet industry are brought to the surface.

The classic ballet and pointe shoe box design has been re-branded to contain both the campaign brand’s identity as well as useful facts or quotes regarding mental health in ballet dancers. These subtle additions to theses boxes, which ballet dancers see very often, aim to start a movement of open conversations around mental health, perfectionism, and other mental illnesses that ballet dancers may suffer from very often.

Part 4: The Zine

My goal with the design of this zine was to be a consistent continuation of my previous 3 projects in color scheme, type face, and over all aesthetic. By using the bold type face I used in my Project 1 poster, I hope that this zine communicates the importance of this topic to the readers.

While I went with a more bold approach with bold text and large full-page images, I wanted to incorporate one softer element to bring balance and touch upon the softness and effortlessness of ballet dancers. The type face I chose for the front cover, the pop-out quote on pages 8 and 9, and on the last spread demonstrate this soften element I chose to bring in.

While flipping through the zine, the reader gains a better understanding of the importance of spreading awareness of mental health in ballet dancers and humans at large as well as enjoy a visually pleasing and informative product.