CCS Alumni-owned Lunar North Finds its Niche in Detroit's Ever Expanding Creative Universe

Lunar North Story
“I think the mindset of designers can be really useful to Detroit right now,” explains MARCUS MULLINS (’09, Communication Design). “There’s a general inquisitiveness that we’re all trained to have, investigating and figuring out ways we can approach problems. I think design can get young people excited about being in the city and help fuel the entrepreneurial spirit.”

Mullins is the Co-Founder of Lunar North — along with friend and fellow alum SCOTT WARANIAK (’10, Communication Design) — a boutique design studio that serves up a range of services but specializes in branding, animation and post-production.

Lunar North — which includes a small group of employees — has generated good word-of-mouth, and Detroit is the right place at the right time.

“We do a little bit of everything,” says Waraniak. “We have solid training from CCS in traditional mediums and the ability to apply that to lots of newer mediums.” The team works on some part of every project together, and their skill sets complement each other: Mullins likes to get technical and Waraniak is more of a humanist, adding texture to the work.

Waraniak describes their relationship as a good give and take. The ability to collaborate and check each other keeps the quality of the work consistent. Recent projects include creating a collage of worlds for Great Big Story exploring the history of video games; a series of videos explaining the technology of the 2018 Ford EcoSport; visualizing the thoughts of technology leaders with the Verge; building on branding with Barton Malow; and showcasing the future of home entertainment with Sony.

Branding — creating an identity system for a client — is one of the duo’s favorite kinds of projects. “We get to really think about how we
could apply that system to business cards, letterheads, storyboard templates, websites and reel intros,” says Mullins.

As for the name, Lunar North is inspired by science in general and astronomy in particular. Think NPR’s Radiolab or Carl Sagan’s classic
public television series Cosmos. But there’s more to the name than its quirkiness. It also offers a glimpse into how Waraniak and Mullins think about good design.

“Astronomy has always been a source of inspiration,” says Mullins, “whether it’s looking at Hubble Space Telescope photos or just general
theories and ideas and outside-the-box thinking.”