Odyssey Memorial Adventures

Project Overview

The Journey of Your Life

Odyssey Memorial Adventures is a full service funeral and memorial planning company, specializing in fully customized, outdoor adventure memorials.

Referencing narrative psychology, our services take the form of a physical journey allowing close friends and family to celebrate and remember their loved one while physically participating in a personally significant outdoor activity.

Collaborators
Roles

Concept, UX, experiential, layout, marketing, branding

Timeframe

6 weeks

The Challenge

Standard funerals are impersonal, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly.

Death and dying is something largely avoided in our culture and, outside of religious contexts, our society has little tradition to help the grieving. Additionally funerals and burial/cremation are incredibly expensive, fairly impersonal, difficult and stressful to plan (especially directly after a death), and are not eco-friendly. Currently individuals and families are seeking more personal, participatory, and eco-friendly options.

Marketing pamphlet spread

The Solution

A fully customizable, memorable, active service to celebrate your story and provide structure to the grieving process.

Odyssey Memorial Adventures provides a funeral journey to allow for people to come together and reframe their narratives around a loved one’s death in a meaningful and healing way, fully customized to their specific needs.

Process

Research

We began with significant research into current trends, laws, opinions, and needs about death, burials, and funerals to get a clear understanding of the current pain points and untapped opportunities in the industry.

We discovered several key issues we could tackle:

  • Many avoid the topic until after a death which results in having to make difficult, expensive choices during a vulnerable time
  • A profit-driven, opaque industry preying on customers when they are at their most vulnerable
  • Users desiring a more personal, affordable, and environmentally friendly option but there are few currently available or easily discoverable.
  • In our largely post-religious culture there is a lack of structure to help individuals to grieve or support those who are grieving.

We then interviewed potential users focusing primarily on Baby Boomers who expressed a desire for an option that is personal, affordable, and simple. These conversations led us to the idea of an outdoor memorial journey service.

a collection of all the pain points of funeral planning sorted into general piles

User Personas

We wanted to consider the needs of a variety of potential users. The personas we focused on are:

Janine, who recently lost her mother and will be planning a service for her with limited information as to her wishes.

Keith, who is planning ahead for his own future service to ensure his wishes are met and to remove any burden from his family when the time comes.

And the friends of Sean, who passed away suddenly in an accident. He and his friends were an adventure-seeking group and they want to celebrate his life in a way that best suits who he was.

Additionally Erin created a customer journey map that took into consideration that there could be a range of emotions through each segment shown through the variety in the line element.

Whiteboarding the order of service

Order of Service

The structure of the service is the key element of our offerings and it was important to provide a customizable framework each client could use to create a service unique to their needs. Our structure heavily references Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey as well as key elements of narrative psychology.

The service is a physical, round-trip journey for the closest friends and family lead by a trained guide to facilitate each piece of the journey. Each portion of the service is specifically designed to allow the participants to remember, celebrate, begin to grieve, share, and come away with a meaningful memory.

We also wanted to ensure the scattering/burial portion would be accessible for any participant not physically able to take part in the full journey. If necessary the route would be chosen to allow for these guests to meet the group for this segment of the journey or a less physically demanding journey (such as a sailing or train trip) could be used.

Branding

Many funeral homes and planning sites use olive green as their primary color and rely heavily on unclear and often confusing euphemisms for death and dying.
For our branding we wanted to be photography forward with respectful but direct messaging. We chose a split complementary color palette of blue, yellow, and orange and created several simple design elements: a circle and a line pattern. The circle is meant to highlight the journey and return of our services, while the lines are subtly showing the individuals journeying together as well as the life story of the deceased.

moodboard

Logo Creation

After creating a moodboard and rough idea of our style direction, Kelly and Erin began creating a visual concept board and style guide while I focused on the logo mark. After sketching out a number of ideas I settled on a mark that included the O and M from our name creating a sunset over a mountain contained in an open ended circle to reference our round-trip journeys.

While our original design had the logo texturized to add more of an organic element, I ultimately changed it to a clean vector shape to simplify the design.

Final logomark

Collateral

Once the core of the company was established, we each took on a collateral element to build out. Kelly designed and coded our website, Erin developed a branching web-based intake survey to aid in helping clients choose their service, while I focused on creating a marketing book.

The book is meant to be given to a potential client (by a social worker, hospice worker, financial planner, undertaker, or our staff) or requested from our website. It gives a more in-depth explanation of our offerings, services, and philosophy. Because our target demographic is primarily 60+ we felt a printed piece would be the best way to give a deeper understanding of our offerings.

Odyssey Website
Marketing pamphlet