Ep. 1: Why Weight-Inclusive Design Matters: An Introduction

dietitian turned designer podcast

Episode #1

Why Weight-Inclusive Design Matters: An Introduction Transcript

Courtney Vickery [00:00:10]:

Welcome to the Dietitian Turn Designer podcast, where we strive to empower health and wellness professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to create inclusive and impactful online businesses. I’m your host, Courtney Vickery, and you guessed it, I’m Dietitian turned Designer, and my goal is to provide valuable insights and actionable tips to entrepreneurs, designers, and health professionals who want to create weight inclusive businesses that prioritize authenticity, compassion, and inclusivity. On this podcast, we have informative and engaging conversations with industry experts, and we explore topics such as weight inclusive design, branding, website development, marketing and business management and more. So whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, join us on this journey to create positive change in the world of health and wellness. Hello, hello, and welcome to episode number one of the Dietitian Turn Designer podcast. We’re going to be talking about why weight inclusive design matters and introduction. So, as I said, I’m your host, Courtney Vickery, and in today’s episode, we’re going to dive deep into the world of weight inclusive design and why it matters. As health and wellness professionals, we know that our clients come in all shapes and sizes, and we want to create online businesses that are welcoming and inclusive to all.

Courtney Vickery [00:01:40]:

But what does that actually look like in practice? That’s what we’re going to explore today. So grab a cup of tea or coffee and get comfy and let’s get started. So, as an eating disorder survivor, myself and someone who works with clients in this area, I can tell you that the messages we receive from media and online can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. I’m sure you see it with your very own clients, and that’s where design can come in. So today we’re going to talk about why weight inclusive design matters and why it’s so important that we pay attention to the images and messages that we use in our own design work. And of course, I’m going to give you some tips on how to create a more inclusive design. So first, let’s talk about stock photos. This is probably the area that would be the easiest thing to adjust.

Courtney Vickery [00:02:29]:

So stock photos are anything that you can download on shutterstock istock pixels. There’s tons of different websites. And the problem is, if you go on those websites and you type in nutrition or food or anything that you might think would be a keyword for the images you would like to use in your design as a dietitian or as a health professional, you’re typically going to see images that perpetuate harmful stereotypes about weight and health. For example, I think we all know and dread the image of the apple with a measuring tape wrapped around it, or a person with a tape measure wrapped around their waist, et cetera. So those images are often used to symbolize weight loss and dieting, which is triggering and can be harmful for so many people, especially people who’ve struggled with disordered eating or body image issues. So you’re probably thinking, what can we do instead? So obviously there’s plenty of stock photos out there that are more inclusive and less triggering and you have to get really creative in the words that you’re putting in. So I’m thinking, for example, of a specific client I worked with this past year. And this is where having very clear branding is so important, because we knew that for their branding, the words that we were using to search were like pastel organic colors and different words that are specifically related to your branding are going to help you find the photos that you need instead of just typing in generic words like food, nutrition, eating, et cetera.

Courtney Vickery [00:04:02]:

So again, when you’re looking at photos, you want to try to find photos of people of all shapes and sizes that are enjoying food, being active. Maybe those are typically the easiest ones to find. I’ve looked at thousands of hours of photos and thousands of photos. If you type in plus size or body diversity, they’re typically in exercise clothes, which can be great if that is what you are targeting, if you are, say, a fitness instructor or someone that works with athletes, et cetera. But if you are someone that just wants to make sure you’re including diverse people, they may not be necessarily people that need to be in exercise clothes. You just want them being in regular photos. So you kind of have to get creative in the keywords that you’re using. So again, we’re looking for pictures of people just living their lives, lifestyle photos.

Courtney Vickery [00:04:48]:

And then of course, if you have the resources, you could definitely hire models to pose for your own custom photos. That would be obviously the Holy Grail, amazing thing that you could do. But it’s also totally understandable that most of us probably don’t have the resources to do that just yet. But you will one day, I promise you. Continue this journey with your business. And also remember, of course I want good quality photos, but when you’re starting out, iPhones take pretty good photos. So you could definitely use that to your advantage. Or find a local student who wants to grow their portfolio, obviously pay them well for their time, but it wouldn’t be as much as someone who is doing it for a living at that point in time.

Courtney Vickery [00:05:35]:

Or just again, get creative with your resources and what is available to you at this time in your business journey. But also, don’t forget about graphics and drawings. I see this a lot. Somebody may not want to use stock photos and that’s totally fine as well, and they’re using graphics and drawings. So you still want to make sure that you’re being representative of all body sizes in these drawings. So I’ll give you an example. I did branding for an amazing body image coach last year and what we wanted to do in the logo was a drawing of a woman in a larger body hugging herself with flowers around her. And typically, if you can envision this drawing, it’s a drawing that’s typically done with a person in a thinner body.

Courtney Vickery [00:06:19]:

So it was really important for this logo to showcase someone in a larger body to encompass that message of body diversity and self love and compassion that was really the basis of that brand. So moving on to the next important aspect would be language. Language is still part of design, and the words that we use in our designs can have a huge impact on how people perceive themselves. So that’s why it’s so important that we try not to use words that are stigmatizing, like the O word obese or overweight. Instead, we want to say people in larger bodies are biodiversity. And if you are working one on one with a client, then you could definitely ask them what words they want to hear. And that is why it’s so important to know your target audience. Because if you are working in the fat liberation area and you know that they want to use those terms, then that is what would speak or resonate the most with your target audience.

Courtney Vickery [00:07:16]:

And then next we’re going to have a whole episode on accessibility, but I do want to touch on it. So just don’t forget about accessibility in your designs. It’s so important to make sure that they’re accessible to people of all abilities, including those with visual or physical disabilities. So this means we’re using larger fonts, high contrast. I see this all the time. Typically it’s with a pink color or a blue color. You’ve got to make sure that your background and your font have enough contrast. If I can’t read it, then I know people that don’t have the ability to not see these low contrast colors won’t be able to see it either.

Courtney Vickery [00:07:54]:

So just keeping that in mind and the design elements that make your content easier to read and navigate. So you may be thinking, courtney, this all sounds really overwhelming. How am I supposed to know what keywords to use when I’m searching for Photos? And it really is kind of trial and error. But again, that is why we come back to that basis. Just like with our clients, when we talk to them about coming back to their values, whenever they kind of fall back into any of their disordered eating patterns, I have my clients come back to their values. It’s kind of the same way with branding and in business, you want to come back to that foundation. And if you don’t have that strategy and that brand foundation, it’s going to make it harder and it’s going to make it feel chaotic for you and stressful. So having that strategy, having those values in line, your mission, your goals, it will just make everything so much more calm and so much more clear, you will know what you’re looking for.

Courtney Vickery [00:08:51]:

You may not be able to say it in words every time when you’re looking at stock photos, but you’ll be able to look at a stock photo and go, that’s not in line with my brand, or this happens to me a lot when I’m working with other brands. I find a photo that I’m like, that’s perfect, but the color is just not right. So we can kind of tweak the color. You don’t have to be a photoshop guru. You can go in, canva edit, play around with the saturation, the brightness, et cetera, to kind of get it toward the coloration that you need to match with your branding. So again, there’s tons of resources out there. I am more than happy to answer any questions you have. I have tons of free resources on my website for you to check out as well.

Courtney Vickery [00:09:33]:

And this is something I’m very passionate about. So I’m always happy to share my knowledge and experience with others and I can’t wait to see what designs you come up with. Are you tired of DIYing your website and brand? But maybe you’re afraid to let someone who doesn’t quite understand what you do, do it for you? Well, as someone who has experience in both the health and design industries, I’m uniquely qualified to help weight-inclusive private practices and businesses create beautiful brands and websites that showcase their talents and vision while staying true to their values. You can reach out today to chat about my services, or you can check out my free resources on my website and you can also get the link in my show notes. And don’t forget, you can always come hang out with me on Instagram where I share tips and tricks and of course, a few cat photos. And memes as well. Thank you so much for listening to the first-ever episode of The Dietitian Turn Designer podcast. On our upcoming episodes, we’ll be talking about Website Design 101, how to build an inclusive brand and simplifying workflows for better productivity in your private practice.

Courtney Vickery [00:11:02]:

So be sure to hit subscribe so you don’t miss it. Thanks for tuning in to the Dietitian turn designer podcast. As your host, I’m passionate about providing valuable insights and actionable tips to help entrepreneurs, designers and help professionals build weight-inclusive businesses that prioritize authenticity, compassion, and inclusivity. We’ve had some amazing conversations with industry experts about topics from weight-inclusive design to web development, marketing, and more. And we’re not stopping there. We’ve got even more great content coming your way. So thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, we hope you’ll feel inspired to use your designs and marketing as tools for positive change in the world of health and wellness.

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    courtney vickery dietitian website brand designer

    Hi, I'm Courtney

    I'm a Dietitian turned Designer who loves helping weight-inclusive private practices get more clients with designs that stay true to their values & mission.

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    Declet Designs offers website design, branding, and VIP Design Days for weight-inclusive small businesses. Located in Athens, GA, and serving small businesses and private practices nationally.

    Declet Designs is a welcoming and inclusive space for all people regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin.