Rebranding a Legacy
In the summer of 2015 my friend Laura came to me to make one of her businesses a new logo. She owns Adventure Island Family Fun Park in Cadillac, Michigan. Cadillac is my home town where I live and run my design business. We both grew up here, and both spent (her much more than me) a fair amount of time at The Island. I have a bit different perspective of it; my grandpa was a sign painter and had painted all their signage when I was quite young. I was really excited to design Laura and her family a new logo and identity. There’s not a lot to do here in this small town, and certainly we could get her more business from all the bored people here! I also really enjoyed the idea that my grandpa and I would share a client.
Adventure Island has been around for thirty plus years. Owned by the Dunbar family for the last three decades, this place lives in the memories of thousands of local Cadillicans and Michiganders alike. It consists of a tiny mountain with mini golf, the largest go-kart track in Northern Michigan, batting cages, waterslides, arcade, park amenities and ice cream. Like many places in Cadillac, hard economic times have had a hand in the aging of our local icons. The joint was in need of an update.
Some of the immediate things that needed attention to me were the website, the road sign and all the signs stating cost and height requirements. These were hand drawn by seasonal high school workers. They had nice handwriting but its still not an ideal way to command attention in a busy place like that.
I got to work and designed them a youthful logo that was both currently relevant, but also could last well past a decade. Thick lines house icons of all of the attractions activities. Paying a little homage to my talented Gramps, I used a friendly sign painter style font for their name. Parks of this nature need to be energetic and vibrant, so a simple primary color palette was an easy and obvious choice.
The full identity includes a badge style stacked version, a more sophisticated horizontal version with their full name, colors, fonts, and styling. The brand styling has been fully realized as new uniforms, updated social media appearance, brand new website, new paint in the entry way that matches the brand colors, a brand new menu system and supplemental signs.
One of the signs is a height sign, and its based on a character that was hand painted and his hand was used as the height requirement. I recreated him onto a new height sign, another way that we kept the fun history.
Another really big part of the merchandise is the original logo. We kept that and created some throwback merch with the iconic red script. In situations where the original logo is so recognizable, I really think its okay to hang onto it and use the nostalgia as a way to make some sales. So far that is going as planned and people love that vintage vibe.
We just had the 2016 season opener yesterday, and the official launch of the new uniforms, merch and updated entry way environment were well received. The colors were fun and vibrant. We still have work to do to replace the road sign; that and billboards are the next elements to the updated campaign. Next year we will be replacing all the way finding originally done by my grandpa. I am both sad to replace it and happy that its me that will get to update it. Sort of bitter sweet, his legacy is living on there. He passed in 2012, and is dearly missed. But I get a ton of pride knowing that I get to do this work for people he liked doing work for as much as I do. I get to update and keep the creative in the family. Pretty cool that it brings us all together, too.