My mom believes that anything can be cured with the right mixture of herbs. Passion Flower, Kava Kava, English Lavender, Kola Nut. I’ve never actually seen these plants- for all I know, they could be spikey, gray, and oozing- but everyday I swallow a cellulose capsule filled with them to treat something my family calls “a severe lack of chill.” And while I should be more concerned about this vegetarian potion, I cannot help but ignore the details of common sense when I pick up the bright yellow bottle.
The Happy Camper lays on a pale blue cloud, swallowed in by canary yellow as though all the words on the label were so revolutionary to someone that they highlighted it entirely. He’s a kid from a simpler time of boater hats and giant brown boots who reminds me that life isn’t so complicated, and I need not turn the bottle around to read the supplement facts. The centered text creates the order and stability sought after by anxious individuals, calming each of their fears with the terms “Natural Balance”, “Happy Camper”, and “The feel good herbal formula”. First assuring over-thinkers that this product is natural- although I’m not sure what that even means these days- the text then uses the term “camper” to denote activity, as people commonly fear drowsiness when taking supplements. The label finally brings the consumer to its bottom line, literally and figuratively: this product will simply make you feel good.
Comparing this bottle’s multimodal connotation to that of the CAPS website shows a great difference in opinions about mental health. Spatially, the site overwhelms my system with multiple social media options, stock photos for various articles, and long drop down menus. The theme colors, our own maize and blue, create a contiguous vibe between this entity and every other on campus to display in mental health the same rigor and importance of our academics. The pale red for emergency situations flirts with the viewers attention but does not grab it altogether. The initial consultation video shows a male student with a deep and slow voice, taking long steps and rarely using his hand gestures as he makes his first appointment at CAPS. His methodical disposition assures the viewer that the journey to mental health should not be rushed. This video, coupled with the CAPS website’s many options and lack of focus, encourages viewers in their process towards mental healthiness, contrasting the multimodal simplicity of the Happy Camper’s single step program.