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The Sunset Project: A New Look

Alpena, MI - April 2023

Hello! We’ve spent the past several months planning, collaborating, designing and integrating – all aimed at a common goal to take The Sunset Project’s visual identity into the next phase of it’s ever-evolving journey.

In this article, we’ll be doing a deep dive into what we did, why we did it, and how it translates into the future goals for The Sunset Project and it’s programs. Enjoy!

The Past

Before diving into what the future holds, let's take a moment to reflect on where we came from. In Spring of 2021, The Sunset Project began to take shape one late night meeting at a time. Trying to put the pieces together, discover our niche, and find what areas in Northeast Michigan needed support the most. With those conversations came the obvious question:

“What do we call it?”

After many (and we mean many) failed attempts, The Sunset Project name was here to stay and with it, a visual identity that we thought could never go out of style. Fast forward 18 months, three established programs, and multiple events later and a new question came about:

“How can we make this, better?”

We quickly realized that we had outgrown our previous visual identity, and that it no longer captured the essence of the organization and its mission. It was colorful and bright (which of course, we loved) but it lacked a certain level of sophistication and longevity – both of which are crucial for developing strong connections and building a flourishing community.

The Goals

In Fall of 2022, we decided it was time to take a fresh look at our visual identity and create something that better assisted the organization on its mission-driven journey. We wanted a brand that was simple, easy to recognize, and unique to us in every way. We wanted a brand that reflected both past development and future projects. We wanted a brand that didn’t just say “The Sunset Project” – we wanted one that screamed it.

The Designers

To bring our vision to life, we partnered with some of the best designers we could get our hands on. Alpena native (and longtime friend of the organization) Maren Winter came in to help develop our new logo and branding kit, and Grand Rapids native Casey Calvo was brought on to bring our new website and it’s features to life. Working with these two allowed us to gain a new perspective on our visual identity and create something that resonated with our mission and our growing community.

The Process

Working with our team and collaborators, the design process was rooted in our values and mission from day one. We aimed to create a brand that reflected our commitment to creativity, mental health awareness and the Northeast Michigan region we operate in.

Of course, we had some parameters.

It was crucial to us that we keep some of the design language from our previous identity that so many had come to know and love. Aspects such as a vivid color palate, the “sunset” motif, and statement making typography all became focal points during design sessions.

We were confident that we could bring the old with the new in a way that not only made sense but was cohesive in every aspect.

The Outcome

The outstanding work of both our internal staff and our incredible designers resulted in a brand that we are both immensely proud of, and eager to share.

Our new logo and color scheme highlights the organization as a beacon for those in the creative and mental health communities. Our branding allows for universal use, without having to worry about pesky color rules and difficult to use logo work. Our website (which we hope you will check out further after reading this) offers cohesive messaging mixed with outstanding digital content and functionality that says: “We’re here to stay.”

Even our programs (which you can find more about here) got a new look, further establishing them as the vehicle for The Sunset Project to achieve its mission on a day-to-day basis.

The Future

So what’s next? Working on this project taught us a lot about not only ourselves and our brand, but also the community we work hard to serve. This process only furthered our drive to help push boundaries, end stigmas, and unite individuals in a region often overlooked by others.

As The Sunset Project continues its mission towards fostering creative advancement and being a driving force for mental health awareness in Northeast Michigan, we can’t help but say thank you to this incredible community for your continued support. It’s because of you that we’re able do the things we do!

The Sunset Project Team

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