The Darwin Challenge

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  • 2018

  • Digital Design
    Apps and Software

Designed By:

  • Universal Favourite

Commissioned By:

The Darwin Challenge

Designed In:

Australia

Founded by Chris Darwin, Charles Darwin's great-great-grandson, The Darwin Challenge mobile application is a not-for-profit initiative promoting one simple action: eat less meat for your own good, for others and for the planet. The application rewards users by showing them how their meat-free days improve their health and the world.


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  • The Darwin Challenge needs to inspire a movement of people to reduce their meat consumption—the silver bullet that will have the biggest impact towards preventing the global mass extinction of species. Responsible for the design and art direction of the mobile application, we needed to balance the app's appeal to a core target of females aged 25 - 40, with the older generation of influential leaders (think Al Gore, Paul McCartney). The app’s KPIs included generating 3,000 meat-free days in 3 months and raising at least AUD$20,000 in 6 months.

  • We created the Darwin Challenge iOS mobile application to raise awareness, educate and ultimately facilitate behavioural change. The Darwin Challenge mobile application allows users to log their successful meat-free days to see the benefits for themselves, others and our planet in 10 heavily-researched metrics—health, animal welfare and environmental sustainability, all being key triggers in getting people to eat less meat. Users are also able to create and join groups and invite friends, to help encourage others to download and use the app. Groups and leaderboards generate healthy competition to drive ongoing use.

  • Less than a month after the launch, the mobile application had generated over 5,500 meat-free days and it had reached stretch crowd-funding goals and raised over AUD$35,000. The mobile application has been at the epicentre of the birth of a movement that has brought together many organizations, groups and individuals, and as that community engages and grows, the influence and impact spreads. Despite this being only the first launch version of the app, to date it has helped encourage over 48,000 meat-free days, equating to the saving of over 50,000 fish, 22 hectares of forest and 4.5 million toilet flushes!

  • During the initial phase of concept development and designing user flows, we worked closely with The Behavioural Architects and the theories of behavioural economics, to ensure our design decisions were backed by research and insight. The Reciprocity Bias studies have shown that people are subconsciously motivated to act more positively towards those who act positively towards them. The app’s aura is one of hope and encouragement and this is what we aimed to achieve in approach, imagery and messaging. The metrics were informed by behaviour studies, which concluded that the three motivators—health, animal welfare, environmental sustainability, in that order—are the key triggers in getting people to eat less meat. Ensuring that the app’s community and users can trust in the validity of the metrics is critical to the usefulness and longevity of the app, and this is achieved through complete transparency of the way they are calculated. We balanced a feminine design aesthetic with solid graphic elements, a geometric illustration style and split-complementary colour palette with a distinct call-to-action colour. With Janine Rewell (illustrator), we art-directed a beautiful in-app scene that changes from barren to plentiful, the more meat-free days the app user logs, rewarding positive actions.