Design patterns are reusable evidence-based solutions to common design problems.


Patterns allow designers to build on research that has already been done, create consistent services across agencies, and use best practices to deliver value to the people they serve. 

Design patterns traditionally focus on user interaction and graphic design. Think of the repeatable components you see in print and on screen – like buttons, typography, and headers – that have been tried and tested to make a design work for users. Using design patterns for those elements creates a consistent, positive user experience across a service. If's Data Permission Catalogue, U.S. Web Design System, and NHS's Content and Design Patterns (screenshots below) are all examples of digital design pattern libraries.

Pattern language has evolved to include service patterns. Service patterns extend the logic of design patterns to include process stages, order of activities, and delivery styles. They are practical guidelines for building services or ‘bits’ of services. Service patterns include patterns of insight: consistent findings on how services can be designed to meet common user needs. 


Examples of Other Pattern Libraries


How do patterns apply to mental health? 


Ever more public services for people living with mental illness are being delivered online or by phone. Remote delivery offers the potential for efficiency and ease of access – but only if services are thoughtfully designed to optimize user experience. 

Together, design and service patterns can help us create truly reliable service experiences. Mental health design patterns have the potential to improve interoperability between service providers and services, and ultimately, help people get the meaningful mental-health support they need.

When developing this library, we considered a user's experience across an entire mental health journey, from awareness to exiting a service. We acknowledge that there are many ways to consider a journey of care. We chose this framework based on our experience designing mental health services, but will continue to examine its efficacy as we move forward.

Read more about how we made the first set of patterns.