All Aboard the Project7 Design Tour
Ladies and gentlemen, folx of all ages, step right up and find a seat for your personalized Project7 design tour. Our office is in Des Moines’ East Village, but if you’re paying attention, you can spy p7 designs all over the metro (and beyond). We’ve limited our tour to 11 local stops, but we work with clients all over central Iowa and sometimes beyond the state line. Buckle up and let the tour begin!
Stop 1: Project 7 Design
The most iconic and well-known p7 project in Des Moines is, without question, the mural on the exterior wall of our office building. Designed by our amazing team of designers, this mural has become an East Village destination. If you peek out the p7 windows on any given day, you’ll likely see someone snapping a selfie, senior portrait, or engagement photo by the mural. The entire team brought the design to life in 2020, and we all learned so many valuable lessons about painting and murals and scissor lifts.
Stop 2: The New Northwestern
Just a few doors down from p7, our next stop is The New Northwestern. P7 created a brand for this hip cocktail and wine bar that was inspired by vintage train station typography and the rhythm of a railroad track, a nod to the building’s railroad heritage. From the outside, you can see a continuous window vinyl pattern of train tracks that leads to the bar entrance, as well as exterior parking signs. Inside, we created signage and a large-scale vinyl graphic behind the bar of a historic image of the Chicago & Northwest Railroad.
Stop 3: PDM
Our third stop is a few blocks southeast of p7. We’ve worked with our friends at PDM on a little bit of everything over the years. We helped them to develop a brand and then came up with creative, practical ways to carry that brand into their physical office space. We chose paint colors and carpeting to coordinate with the brand and designed both the custom lighted sign that hangs on the wall as you come into the office and vinyl wall coverings throughout.
Stop 4: Invest DSM
If we cross over the river and head south, we’ll find our next stop, Invest DSM. This local nonprofit is committed to strengthening neighborhoods and creating opportunities for the people who live in them. Chances are you’ve seen their custom-designed yard signs around town. Inside their offices, you’ll be greeted by carpet, paint colors, and furniture that echo the brand’s bright color palette. We designed vinyl for the office windows and wall graphics for the hallways that extend the brand into the physical space.
Stop 5: Green Bridge
Just a few steps beyond Invest DSM, you’ll see the Fifth Street Pedestrian Bridge, better known as the Green Bridge. When the Green Bridge was restored and repainted a few years back, Des Moines Parks and Recreation hired p7 to create informational signage for this historic bridge. In addition to writing and designing the signs, p7 also helped with the fabrication of the signs and memorial plaques. The bridge links up with the Meredith Trail, which is our next stop.
Stop 6: Trail Signs
P7 has worked with Des Moines Parks and Rec on several really cool projects, including E-911 trail signs. The trail system has been around for a long time, and when Des Moines Parks decided it was time for a refresh, p7 worked with them to design signage with a dual function. The signs both represent the identities of individual trail segments and also provide emergency response information for each trail. The emergency signage needed to be accessible and highly visible so that pedestrians and emergency personnel could easily read and convey their location. We geeked out learning about the amazing process of color inversion testing, which ensures that the signs are legible to everyone, including those who are color blind!
Stop 7: Chummy
After so much walking, you could probably use a break. So let’s stop in at Chummy and grab a cold one. Step out back onto their patio to see the next p7 design in the wild: the Chummy mural. We worked with Chummy to create a brand that reflected the bar’s fun, downtown vibe and then splashed that brand all over their brick wall. The mural is bold and playful, transforming a dull, drab alley into a bright, inviting space.
Stop 8: Loyal Sons
Our next stop is a special one. P7 worked with the guys at Loyal Sons Barber Shop on the whole kit and caboodle. Not only did p7 name Loyal Sons, but our team also designed the logo and a snazzy website to match. We also brought the brand to life with interior finishes like unique decorative wallpaper and a custom tile entrance. When you walk through that door, it’s a whole vibe and we love it.
Stop 9: University Sewing and Vacuum
Our friends at University Sewing and Vacuum take great pride in how long they have been helping central Iowans with their vacuums (since 1988), and when they decided to expand their business to include sewing, they reached out for some help with naming and marketing. P7 came up with the new name and used the reimagined brand to create bright, bold window vinyl that helps customers find their main entrance. We also designed a freestanding sign for them featuring their new name and logo.
Stop 10: Riverview Park
After that quick jaunt west, our tour heads north to Riverview Park. This is a fun one—the area that is now Riverview Park was home to one of Des Moines’ first amusement parks, and p7 had so much fun creating designs to honor the park’s legacy through informative signage, creative places to play, event venues and more. In addition to entrance signage, p7 also researched, wrote content for, and designed more than a dozen informational panels detailing the park’s history. Our team had a blast creating graphics and illustrations for the park’s new playground equipment, drawing inspiration from Riverview’s original attractions and the zoo animals that once lived at the park
Stop 11: DNR Trailer
Our last stop on the p7 design tour is at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. From the outside, the DNR trailer doesn’t look like much. But there’s more to this semi-trailer than meets the eye. Inside, the exhibit is equipped with touch screen computer games, flat screen TVs, and interactive displays to teach people about sustainability, recycling, and water and energy conservation. P7 created the interior graphics, as well as a hands-on “This or That” guessing wall in this mobile educational exhibit.
Phew! We hope you’ve enjoyed your tour and spotting p7 projects out in the wild. These projects are so much fun for us, as they really bring to life what we’re used to seeing on paper. Your brand is so much more than just a logo or a website. Your brand can (and should!) permeate every aspect of your business, from your paint colors to your signage to your parking lot. Our design approach is holistic, which is a fancy way of saying we will help you find as many ways as possible to explode your brand on the inside, creating a space and an experience that mirrors and elevates your brand.
If you’re feeling inspired to refresh your brand, or you’d like to noodle on ways to bring your brand to life in your space, drop us a line.
Bridget Drendel is a partner and co-owner at Project7 Design. With experience in a variety of studios and corporate environments, she honed her skills before co-founding p7 where she focuses leading design and web projects as well as client relations.