The Playroom

Art Direction
Brand Experience
Environmental Design

Course: COMD-300 Core Design Studio, Instructor: Leo Vicenti
In the fall of 2021, I had the opportunity to develop and extend the visual language of Vancouver Urban Ministries. VUM is a non-profit organization that tutors low-income families in and around the Downtown East Side. I created a new brand, Playroom, to express VUM’s commitment to providing a holistic learning environment for its students.

After completing the brand identity for Playroom, I created a 3D model based on this new visual language to visualize how this identity could be situated in a physical space. I also generated toys and playful elements for the students to play with in the room.

Research Phase

I began by researching VUM, who they were, and what makes them stand out. I found a lot of similarities between their morals and the first 3 tiers of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—physiological needs, safety needs and belonging, and love needs.

Based on these three needs, and in conjunction with VUM’s philosophy, I concluded that: a successful education prioritizes making the most of a student’s capabilities and resources and a healthy learning environment.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in conjunction with VUM’s main philosophies.

Exploration Phase

Since this brand identity would be situated in a room, I wanted to look for a space that would add to the playful nature of the new identity. I came across the kids' room of Vancouver Public Library’s Strathcona library in the Downtown area, close to where VUM’s tutoring building is based. Seeing all the fun colours and toys in the room inspired me to title this extended brand, “Playroom”. This room is the perfect play area with glass sliding doors and easy access to cupboards and sinks.

Vancouver Public Library’s Strathcona library: kid’s play room and area.

Brand Experience

As I compiled visual research on VUM, I saw that their brand was intended to appear friendly and approachable. I wanted to make an extension of VUM’s brand and build on the element of play and nutrition that they emphasized in their values. I chose more saturated versions of VUM’s existing brand colours to show more playfulness in the extended brand.

In creating the other visual elements of the Playroom, I found inspiration from hills and how much livelier they made a space with the colours I chose. On top of the 'rolling hills,’ I made arrows and word signs that would act as wayfinding for tutors, guardians, and students as to where the play area for VUM would be.

Playroom's primary colour palette, font colours and font pairing.


While building on the brand identity and logo for the Playroom, I began to experiment with wordmarks for wayfinding and developed a few extra letters for signage. I realized I could expand those letters for a whole type system to support the Playroom.

Custom typography would allow the Playroom to expand and be used in various other spaces. Whether the letters are used as display type or for signage, it enables the brand to exist and adapt to different rooms and locations.
An overview of the custom type and the guidelines for it.

Environmental Design

After collecting approximate measurements and dimensions of the kids' play area at the Strathcona library, I designed the room in SketchUp. I placed the visual elements such as the rolling hills around the room to act as decoration. Taking the construction of the room into consideration, I had to add the visual elements in a way that would not obstruct the view into the room for the safety of the students and supervision of the room. These considerations for the logo and visual element placement were also added in the style guide.

Screen captures of the 3D model of the Playroom in SketchUp.

The floorplan and elevations of the room.

The full style guide for the Playroom. This document acts as a template so the Playroom brand can live anywhere.

© 2024 Hayley Ng