A self-directed project from the TDL Explains series; we created a mindful wild swimming toolkit that aims to inform wild swimmers, protect the natural environment and help local communities by discouraging overcrowding.

During the longer summer days we’d noticed many people were looking for ways to get active, whilst wanting to be mindful of the environment and spend more time outdoors. Wild swimming covered both of these user needs, but initial research revealed that information for novice swimmers was spread far and wide across multiple sources, and was often text-heavy and time consuming to read.

An illustration of different people enjoying a swim spot
Mindful wild swimming posters displayed on an outdoor notice board


There were some great written resources on the topic already available (for example, books by award-winning author Daniel Start, blogs on government websites and information provided by the emergency services). After speaking directly to some wild swimming experts, we found there were very few visual guides or ‘light’ information packs available. We also came across an issue; many hot spots had become overcrowded and there were safety concerns – both for the swimmers themselves and the natural environment.

We realised our objective was not to promote wild swimming, but instead educate the public about how to swim mindfully.

user holding phone with wild swimming instagram post

A key element of the toolkit is a set of pictograms. This suite represents hazards or actions in a simple and clear way, whilst still being inviting to the end user. The icons were designed with councils, government organisations and local businesses in mind, as they are offered as a free download and can even be combined to create a poster, unique to each wild swim hotspot.

“This has been a great project for the TDL team to work on, especially as it gave Frances the flexibility to create some beautiful and engaging designs. We all need to experience the natural environment so we can connect with it and build a desire to protect it; wild swimming is a great way to do this if carried out in a safe and mindful way.”

Oliver Tomlinson

CEO & Founder, TDL Creative


Illustration of people at a wild swim spot

This project is part of a self-directed design series, ‘TDL Explains’, where we explore timely and trending topics in areas where people need to understand information. Our aim is to improve the lives of people around us through better design.

To deep dive into our design process for this project, please see our
TDL Explains: Mindful Wild Swimming Blog