Startup Week Makes a Great Impression

Case Studies

The seven-year-old event ups its game with graphics and unique “Base Camp.”

When Denver Startup Week was launched in 2012, it attracted 3,000 people who wanted to learn more about and support the Mile-High City’s thriving business, tech, and entrepreneurial scene, as well as its exceptional quality of life. Funded by the Downtown Denver Partnership, Chase for Business, and the Colorado Technology Association, the event has gained momentum over the years and, in 2017, attracted nearly 19,000 people.

Hosting such an enormous audience is no easy task, and the event’s organizers needed a larger base of operations from which to run it. They chose the Commons on Champa, an innovation hub in the heart of Denver. The previous home base for the event—called “Base Camp”—was at a nearby mall. So, in addition to transforming the Commons, they needed to be sure that visitors who showed up at the old base of operations knew how to get to the new one, says Castle Searcy, Base Camp creative director.

Creating unique Base Camp features

Searcy partnered with Chad Person, a local artist who works with inflatables and also is the founder of startup Bowtie.io. He collaborated with the Denver Startup Week team to expand Base Camp’s branding, and the two created a graphic theme that would be carried throughout the event’s venues, helping people identify the roughly 350 sessions and workshops taking place throughout the city. They created a mascot—a giant inflatable fashioned as a prospector—and created a series of banners and vinyl “footprints” emblazoned with the event’s information, leaving the appearance that the giant prospector had been leaving his footprints all over town. These features helped people find events throughout the city. LED cloud features and a variety of artists contributed to the fun, innovative feel of the space.

Local graphics firm Ink Monstr helped Searcy produce the branded materials that were placed around the city. Erin Bauer from Ink Monstr says the firm used a variety of 3M products including 3M™ Controltac™ Graphic Film with Comply™ v3 Adhesive IJ180Cv3 for graphics applied to sidewalks and other ground surfaces and 3M™ Scotchcal™ Graphic Film with Comply™ Adhesive IJ35C for window applications. The result was a clean, modern look and sharp colors and images that gave a definite “you’ve arrived” feel to the event. Stair risers, window wraps with hashtags and sponsorship messages, large banners, and other vinyl features ensured that attendees saw both Denver Startup Week and sponsor messages and logos. Each piece was created and installed in less than two months, Searcy says.

The event was another smashing success and plans are already underway for the 2018 event. Searcy is ready for the challenge—and ready to attract an even bigger audience. “We want to let people know that you don’t have to be a startup to attend or to organize an event. It’s for anybody—students, stay-at-home moms, and anybody in the community to come to these sessions and be inspired, connect with other people, and get education for free,” she says.

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