Culture and Heritage Intersect
Deliberate design increases our engagement with the world around us, but often this level of thoughtfulness is not accessible to all. Wunder Werkz designed the Sun Vally visual identity with the goal of uplifting and celebrating the diverse cultural identities of Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood, a historically underserved community. We democratized the design process, engaging the community at key points to create outcomes that can be utilized within and by the residents of Sun Valley for years to come.
Wunder Werkz’s guiding principles throughout this project were to create a visual language and brand systems as exciting and diverse as the community it was derived for and from a design-perspective create an equitable urban core.
A Community Kit of Parts
The wordmark drew inspiration from hand-painted signage leading to a bold and rounded form that is both easily readable and approachable. The identity system revolves around a tile motif which was developed with community input and can be classified into five categories – culture, community, environment, heritage and architecture. These are used for wayfinding, marketing and crosslinguistic communication and are influenced by the diverse cultural groups represented in the neighborhood. The tiles are paired with a broad and vibrant color palette creating both high-contrast and tonal palettes for a clear hierarchy of information and a multilingual type system with confident and easily readable typefaces.
The main visual assets were coalesced into a community design kit, allowing residents to use the assets to create their own flyers, posters and messaging for neighborhood events and functions. They are also used in a color-rich signage system, giving both a sense of place and pride in the community. Classified into three major color categories the neighborhood is easy to navigate at a glance and gives insight into the history and diversity of the area.
Democratization of Design
Thoughtful design is generally created for and dictated by those who can afford it. When we engaged on this project for a historically overlooked community, we wanted to make sure that community had a stake in the game and a say in the outcome. Creating bold, engaging and thoughtful brand systems isn’t necessarily innovative, but ensuring underserved communities have access to equitable design is woefully rare. Through our iconographic lexicon we were able to both modernize and celebrate the diverse cultures of the area and let the residents use these as tools for later evolution. At the end of the day, design is for everyone and thoughtful design increases engagement with our built environment. Wunder Werkz wanted to make sure that for Sun Valley purposeful design was accessible to a community that has largely been overlooked by the growth and abundance of their city.