Sun City West
Sun City West
environmental graphic design, wayfinding & signage design
After Three Decades, Sun City West Rises Again
It’s sun that draws retirees to Arizona, but it’s fun that keeps them here. This proven formula was pioneered by active adult golf communities like Sun City West which offered recreational amenities for an on-the-go lifestyle. It was so successful that 55 became the new 40 as advertising portrayed silver-haired couples cutting loose on the back nine. Sun City West is now approaching middle-age with that same bounce in its step thanks to a stylish makeover of their iconic brand led by Thinking Caps Design.
We fused the ideas gathered in the collaborative process into a new logo, colorful with desert hues and brimming with energy. The logo unfolds like the fluid movement of a golfer’s swing or the powerful arch of a tennis serve.
The Recreational Centers of Sun City West wanted to keep the luster of their community shining for a new generation of empty nesters and mature home buyers. They chose Thinking Caps Design to guide development of a master plan for the recreational facilities that would project a more contemporary image.
The plan evolved in stages. First, Thinking Caps Design launched a collaborative process with various stakeholders to generate consensus around a new graphic identity. The essence of the community was the contagious energy of residents living an active lifestyle so we sought to capture this in a new identity logo that would permeate the client’s web, digital and print marketing initiatives.
In the Thinking Caps Design studio, we fused the ideas gathered in the collaborative process into a new logo, colorful with desert hues and brimming with energy. The logo unfolds like the fluid movement of a golfer’s swing or the powerful arch of a tennis serve. The tagline echoes the residents’ claim that Sun City West is “Arizona’s Premier Active Adult Golf Community.”
A Master Plan Evolves
For the second stage, Thinking Caps Design extended the new identity across monuments, digital signage, kiosks, identification and wayfinding systems, developing a sign program before turning to the architectural and landscaping features of the project. The design team expanded to include SHJ Studio for architecture and Floor Associates for landscape design.
The goal was to define the master plan around enhancements to the R.H. Johnson Center, a 48-acre recreational complex that is home to many of Sun City West’s amenities. The resulting plan reimagined the complex with its mission-styled buildings set back from the street by a massive parking lot. The fresh design called for water-sipping trees to add shade and soften the approach from the lot. The white walls will transition to earth tones like taupe, tan and terracotta. The entrance to the complex is better defined with pergolas to shade walkways and guide visitors into various buildings. Gardens of native plants will take root, adding color and soothing spirits.
The upgrades will take a few more years to implement over several budget periods, just in time for Sun City West at 40 years to look like the new 20, maturing with vitality thanks to its passionate pursuit of the active lifestyle.
CLIENT – Sun City West Recreation Centers
DESIGN TEAM – Thinking Caps Design, Floor Associates, SHJ Architects, Aqua Design
SCOPE – Brand and Identity Development, Overall Project Masterplan, Programming, Strategic Design, Schematic and Design Development, County Entitlements, Construction Administration
START DATE – Spring 2014
COMPLETION DATE – Phase One, November 2015
“The Sun City West Association has greatly benefitted from working with Thinking Caps Design. They have guided us through Logo Design, Reimaging Vistas and modernizing our community complexes. They are a creative, friendly and forward thinking organization. We are grateful for their partnership.”
Cindy Knowlton Recreations Activities Manager Recreation Centers of Sun City West