Beakerhead

The Challenge

Beakerhead is a citywide “smash up of art, science and engineering” that aims to provoke curiousity and wonder. While Beakerhead initiatives — particularly with Calgary schools — take place year-round, it’s best known for its intense five-day extravaganza of events and experiences each September. As Beakerhead moved into its sophomore year in 2014, its marketing team needed a partner to create a program for the festival that would describe the events, help define the Beakerhead brand and function as a practical guide for participants and attendees.

The Solution

Beakerhead asked RedPoint to create a program that would not only pare down a large quantity of information into a straightforward guide, but would embody the playful, creative spirit of Beakerhead. RedPoint’s team took care of editing and design, while Beakerhead supplied content.

Programs are always a challenge, both for the organizers of a festival and our creative team, because of the quantity of details that must be confirmed, checked and double-checked. Beakerhead marketing and communications director Michelle Htun-Kay was relieved that such a complex project could be so well-managed. “The process was as smooth as you would expect for collating 50 events by more than 100 contributors, with three directors in three different time zones. It went better than expected.”

Because there was so much information to compile, RedPoint design director Steve Collins developed icons to help readers find their way through the program. Each individual event is marked by a light bulb icon, while dates and times are denoted by robot icons. Not only are these elements useful, they help to emphasize Beakerhead’s playful focus on art-science combinations. Wherever possible, the program incorporates vibrant images from 2013 events, to help provide context and a taste of what participants can expect from particular events. Program content is carefully edited to be accurate, alluring and consistent throughout the piece.

The Result

Htun-Kay says the program delivered exactly what Beakerhead had hoped for: A simple, approachable way for participants to view and comprehend a large quantity of information. “We received tons of positive feedback with regards to the look of the Program Guide. Many people were impressed with the quantity of events being displayed, but said they didn’t feel overwhelmed because of the way the content was presented. Instead, they felt ‘energized’ and ‘excited’ to pick their selections. The cartoon style mixed with the photography was well-received. If we hadn’t had all those fantastic images, I think we would have had a struggle to ‘sell’ the events.”