Millennial Dad Project
Branding, Art Direction, Design, Development
The Millennial Dad Project is a community designed to cultivate a space of self-compassion and resiliency for the modern father. The Millennial Dad Project does this by reframing what it means to be a father in our society through written, verbal, and visual storytelling as a catalyst for change. The project focuses on the branding and identity work surrounding the Millennial Dad Project.
Organization: Millennial Dad Project
I’m a dad of an extremely busy and active two and a half-year-old named Milo. As a father, I’ve had a hard time finding a dad community that goes beyond sports, barbequing, and beer. Where does a father go when they are at the highs and lows of parenting? Where does a male caregiver turn with the have a question about parenting or need assurance that those feelings are appropriate? The Millennial Dad Project was created as space for just that. The Project exists to welcome members of all communities to be vulnerable, heard, and understood. It’s not about brushing it off and sucking it up; it’s about coming together to be a better father, partner, and community member.
The Representation Project describes an ongoing boy crisis. A crisis that encourages gender stereotypes portraying boys as warriors. Humans that are void of their actual emotions encouraged to demean partners and participate in conflict resolution through violence. How do you raise a healthier generation of children? The Millennial Dad Project hopes to provide insights and guidance that current and future fathers, caregivers, and parents can utilize to navigate these treacherous waters.
70% of men say their friends can rely on them for support, but only 48% say that they rely on their friends.
Research for the Millennial Dad Project began about three years ago (January 2017) while my wife was pregnant with our son Milo. In the time leading up to Mip’s arrival, I began to experience what it was like to be a father and male caregiver in the United States. My wife and I would arrive at a prenatal doctor’s appointment, and it was like I was invisible. The nurses and doctors would talk about me as if I wasn’t even in the room. At one point, my wife and I were at a first time parenting class, and the instructor celebrated the fact that multiple fathers were attending the course. Even before Milo arrived in December 2017, I knew something didn’t feel right from an inclusionary and cultural perspective. This was when I began exploring fathering and male caregiving communities.
Parent/Caregiver + Subject Matter Expert Feedback
For the purposes of the branding and identity portion of this project, I interviewed three experts in the space of parenting, design, and community.
Key takeaways from their feedback included:
- the cultivation of community and connection was critical
- the overall scope of the Millennial Dad Project would be an uphill challenge
- a diverse network of fathers and caregivers would be vital for inclusionary purposes
Personal Thoughts Towards a Solution
Undoing gender stereotypes and solving the current boy crisis is an attempt to change systemic societal issues. A challenge that is not solved overnight, but one that can be chipped away at. Through community education, hard conversations, and constant communication, there is a path forward. The Millennial Dad Project was created as a platform to share stories of fatherhood, the beautiful and exciting things, and the grueling and exhausting side of things.
The path to reframing what it means to be a father is one that winds through the exploration of feelings, emotions, laughter, tears, partnership, and beyond. Planting the seeds for conversation, creating a space where vulnerability is accepted, and encouraged to have them is the first step.
The branding and identity work for the Millennial Dad Project started with a pencil, a Field Notes notebook, and some Dribbble + Pinterest inspiration. This took me down a few different paths that bumped into animals, nonprofits, and brewery branding.
Compared to many other life stages, the transition to fatherhood and the early years of childrearing are periods in which men are at a substantially increased risk of experiencing psychological distress.
Inspiration for the logo mark of The Millennial Dad Project is drawn from the Grey-Headed Albatross. The albatross is an endangered bird that lives in Antarctica. They will fly long distances to feed, sometimes traveling over 12,000 km. Their nests are built on steep slopes and cliffs to protect their young. The male albatross tends to be the primary caregiver of their young during incubation and as fledglings.
As the primary caregiver, the Grey-Headed Albatross showcases characteristics of what The Millennial Dad Project strives to create through community and storytelling. The bright, playful, and vibrant colors and patterns of The Millennial Dad Project help to create a welcoming and caring feeling inviting fathers and caregivers to connect, learn, explore, and engage. The playful design elements were intentionally crafted to help set the tone of all are welcome in the community of The Millennial Dad Project. This is a space that encourages vulnerability, support, and connection.
Branding + Identity Exploration: Instagram
Branding + Identity Exploration: Accessories/Apparel
The Millennial Dad Project will initially live in an online format via a website supported by WordPress and the image-heavy social media platform Instagram. I’d like to eventually move aspects of the Millennial Dad Project into live community events and gatherings. While community and education are at the forefront of this project, it would be interesting to explore monetization and partnership opportunities as the Millennial Dad Project matures.
Compared to girls, boys are more likely to flunk or drop out of school.
-Institute of Education Sciences
- Branch, Ashanti, “A Look Behind the Masks of Teenage Boys,” The Paternal Podcast, podcast, 36:58
- Farrell Ph.D., Warren, “The Boy Crisis: A Sobering look at the State of our Boys,” TEDxMarin, video, 12:50
- Greene, Jayson, “Finding Hope In A Restructured Universe,” The Paternal Podcast, podcast, 32:11
- Porter, Tony, “A Call to Men,” recorded at TEDWomen, December 2010 in Washington, DC., 11:14
- “The Mask You Live In,” The Representation Project, accessed June 4, 2020 therepresentationproject.org/film/the-mask-you-live-in-film/about-the-film
- Scott, Craig, “Lessons Learned From Columbine, 20 Years Later,” The Paternal Podcast, podcast, 33:50
- Institute of Education Sciences. “Digest of Education Statistics.” National Center On Education Statistics. nces. ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_219.70.asp
- “Men’s Health.” Movember, us.movember.com/mens-health/general, accessed July 12, 2020
- Price-Robertson, Rhys. “Fatherhood and Mental Illness: A Review of Key Issues.” Australian Institute of Family Studies, Feb. 2015, aifs.gov.au.