“What is Depression?” is a book design that investigates how simple graphical forms can be used to communicate a complex idea. It explores the principles and elements of design and how they can be abstracted to illustrate emotions, and it experiments with pushing the boundaries of what educational book pages can look like. Education regarding complicated subject matters such as depression are frequently overlooked or misunderstood within our society. People who are not affected by depression have a difficult time understanding what it feels like to suffer with the symptoms and emotions of the disease. This thesis investigates how to express the multifaceted idea of depression to someone who has never experienced it before or does not know what it is. Each page within the book contains simple forms and typography that translate the feelings associated with the symptoms of depression. The overall intention is that the design solutions explored within this book could be applied to any complicated topic in order to educate the viewer.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Depression, Mental--Pictorial works; Visual communication; Book design; Graphic design (Typography)

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Visual Communication Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CAD)


Mike Strobert

Advisor/Committee Member

Adam Smith


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes