Behind the Scenes:

The Making of the Heidelberg Project App


The Heidelberg Project (HP) is a unique art installation and community center in an underserved Detroit neighborhood. Seeing the need for great change, Tyree Guyton started his ambitious project in 1986 when he returned to his home neighborhood to find that it had fallen into blight and neglect. Though the work is ever-evolving, the benefit that it brings to the city remains the same. HP is not only a popular tourist destination, but more importantly, a community center and local resource that uses art to heal and lift up those that are often overlooked by society.

As part of our partnership with the Heidelberg Project, we recently created an app that provides an interactive history and map of the installation to give users an enhanced experience.

Working with the Heidelberg Project on this app allowed us to try out new technologies, stretch our creative muscles, and give a very deserving organization a new platform on which to spread their message. The HP is a vital part of Detroit, a force of good within its community, and an artistic symbol. Since a portion of Isobar calls Detroit our home, it is only fitting that we take on endeavors that help our wonderful city.

Everyone who visits HP gets something different out of the experience. The app built by Isobar allows the public to get a deeper understanding: educating them on the history, nuances, and community benefits that HP provides. This extends the reach of the organization and will prompt more visitors to get involved and help HP by donating their time or money.


Paolina Barker – Copywriter, Detroit

Working on this project allowed me to really discover a part of this city that I was only vaguely aware of. Working closely with the Heidelberg team opened my eyes to the amazing work they do within the community; a mission that I then wanted to champion whole-heartedly. I wish everyone could take the time to get to know them like I did. I am fortunate that I was able to help promote an organization that is such a positive creative force in Detroit.


Phil DeAngelis – Copywriter, Detroit

Digging into the Heidelberg Project has given our creative teams an opportunity to truly think without limits. We researched AR museums, drone mapping and material art collectives around the world. I am excited and awed that this, once unlikely seeming project, evolved into something so well executed, and this stands as proof that every lead should be followed.


Zach DeBord – Creative Director, Detroit

The most meaningful aspect of this project to me is that Isobar will play a part in long-lasting change within a very special neighborhood in Detroit. Day after day, we’ll help visitors learn more about inspiration and hope through a direct connection to the artist’s perspective. Through our efforts I learned that technology is changing the way we document our past and explore in the present. What started as an idea of preserving an ephemeral work of community art, turned into a deeper relationship with Detroit and visitors from across the world.


Cassandra Dykla – Art Director, Detroit

It’s amazing to see this project come full-circle—from participating in the initial concepting, to creating the app intro video. For me, concepting is always the best part of any project because that’s when you have the most freedom to have some fun and let your mind play. When it’s for something like the Heidelberg Project, where there is so much creativity involved, it’s especially exciting. I am very fortunate to have been a part of such a creative endeavor.


Anne Keane – Director, Boston

As a former Michigander, I was really excited to be a part of this project—a true fusion of creativity and technology. Coming from a more traditional campaign marketing background, this work allowed me to not only get exposure to a different work stream, but also connect with amazing Isobar team members in different offices. We were also lucky to work with great partners at HP, who pushed us to create something that brought to life the unique outdoor experience within the mobile space. I enjoyed this challenge, and look forward to applying what we learned from this project to larger integrated marketing campaigns in the future.


Kevin Osborn – Art Director, Detroit

As a Detroiter, I’ve always been fond of the Heidelberg Project. Now more than ever as Detroit goes through a revival, it has become apparent that what Tyree does at the Heidelberg Project sets a precedent for the attitude of the city: embracing our situation and making more of it than could ever be imagined through grit and creativity. Designing the app for the Heidelberg team has allowed me to meet the minds behind the magic. Every single one of them is an amazing individual who contributes so much in their own unique way. I love how much I was able to learn from them about the importance of the Project from their perspective, and also how much we were able to teach them about how technology can help them achieve more than they’d imagined.


Shawna Ramsey – Account Manager, Detroit

There is a saying that “great ideas can come from anywhere,” but there isn’t much talk about the sparks that start great relationships. There was an opportunity for Isobar to submit to TedXDetroit in 2016 with the idea that technology could help record changes in historic, artistic, or cultural landmarks. It led us to reach out to the Heidelberg Project and start talking about their transformation with Heidelberg 3.0. We realized that we had similar synergies that could blend into a beautiful partnership. As the client service representative from Isobar, it’s been so gratifying for me to develop meaningful relationships with the team at Heidelberg. The ability to walk the grounds with them and hear the stories about what the Heidelberg project has meant to the community has been truly inspiring.