Grand Marais Art Colony | 2023 Merchandise Design


The Grand Marais Art Colony (GMAC) always has something fun up their sleeve. For summer 2023, that something was a new store space that would also serve as a community gathering area. There will be tables and chairs to have a coffee and a chat with a friend, a place for budding artists to get creative, and new GMAC apparel to browse. That apparel piece is where the GMAC team looped us in on. We partnered to create various merchandise designs for shirts, hats, and bags, all with the goal of having a fun, northwoods-meets-art-world related themes.

We were very excited to work on this project, but the challenge here was that the sky was literally the limit!

Solution: Merchandise Design

Since the sky was the limit, we tested out all sorts of ideas. Trust me when we say there was A LOT.


The final merchandise designs that stuck were the ones you see below. After some tweaks to fit the Grand Marais natural wildlife, an illustrative, botanical design was the fist shirt design that was finalized. It included all sorts of nature materials one would find on a hike along the upper north shore of Lake Superior. Beyond that, however, it also included various artistic tool. A tube of paint, scissors, a paint brush, etc. They were included in the hand-drawn illustrations to be discovered like little artistic Easter eggs. Variations of this botanical design was used on t-shirts, long sleeves, and totes with various color distinctions.

The next shirt design we worked on was, again, a meld of nature-meets-art. This design contained a series of tall pine trees; however, the base of each tree’s trunk turns into the tip of a pencil. Taking it one step further than that, where you’d expect roots to be are squiggly, drawn lines for an additional element of fun.


For hats, we kept things a little simpler. We utilized the pine tree / pencil drawing on a patch for a fun way to display the detail of the design. The tone of the patch in combination with the trees made this one a perfect fit for that nature-artsy balance. Finally, we also created a classic, branded hat using the stacked logo variation we created for GMAC’s 75th anniversary. This logo variation includes the GMAC icon that is well known, but has an uplifted feel due to the color pallet adjustments we incorporated to the 75th branding.

We created many other merchandise designs, but those are being saved for potential later use. If you’re in the area, stop into GMAC’s new store to check out their latest wares and just enjoy the space.

Want More GMAC?

Well, we’ve got it. The Grand Marais Art Colony has been a fantastic partner throughout the years. Here are some of the major projects we’ve worked on in collaboration with the GMAC stack logo variations. This variation contained adjusted colors