Easton, PA, USA (May 24, 2013) — InPark co-editor Judy Rubin was in Easton, Pennsylvania USA for the grand opening of the Crayola Experience, the re-imagined visitor center designed by Jack Rouse Associates (JRA). Mayor Sal Panto was there to make an opening address prior to the ribbon cutting. Members of the project team present at the opening included George Wade of Bay Laurel Advisors, who spearheaded the endeavor, Dan Schultz and Mike Meyer of JRA and Richard Wagner of RAW Mediatek and Wyatt Simmons of Yellowleaf Inc. 1220 Exhibits was also a core part of the creative team (see list below).
Wade described to us the rapidity with which things came together – 18 months earlier, he’d taken a Crayola client team to IAAPA for a shopping trip, and the project process itself wrapped in about 15 months. The experience is a deft combination of the classic and the contemporary. The basic crayon is showcased with the rest of the product line (markers, etc.) via traditional how-it’s-made and how-it’s wrapped kiosks and presentations. The large and well stocked retail area includes options for creating one’s own T-shirt or painting with a custom interface from Yellowleaf that uses dye sublimation technology and allows a visitor to implement something they created at one of the interactive exhibits in the course of their visit.
Gaming technology, tablet technology and gesture technology keep visitors of all ages actively engaged in creative play in such areas as “Doodle in the Dark” and “Art Alive.”
This re-imagined “brand land” draws local families and school groups, and also from a much wider East Coast day-trip radius – it is about a 2-hour drive from New York City, for instance. We rode in from Port Authority, in a coach with a couple of “mommy bloggers” who write for Time Out New York, and had their children and a husband in tow.
With Crayola Experience, JRA has added to the company’s impressive body of design work for attractions centered on well-known brands, including Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Ferrari, CNN and Jack Daniels. JRA COO Dan Schultz emphasized that while it was always the intention to integrate leading technologies, selection was dictated by story. “Don’t let technology drive creative,” he said. Four existing buildings were combined into the one, super-accessible facility, and the subject naturally lent itself to liberal use of color coding. Commenting on wayfinding, Schultz noted that simplicity is often the best policy: “Sometimes it just takes a pointing finger.”
Schultz remained on hand for most of opening day to observe visitors and their interactions at the opening – a practice he adopted for himself as a Paramount Parks intern in the 1970s. He called our attention to the roar of family groups all around us in the packed facility – mostly the lively voices, squeals and exclamations of excited children – the sounds of success. –J.R.
Jack Rouse Associates
Mike Meyer – Creative Direction (Senior Project Director/Design Lead)
Jeff Smith – Project Manager
David Ferguson – Art Director
Colin Cronin – Art Direction, Graphic Design
Anita Daugherty – Executive Media Production
Scot Ross – Illustration, ID Development
John Nagel – Design Development
Grace Ficke – Design Development, Graphics
Alex Geller – Illustration
Reztark Design Studio
Christie Kratzer – Retail Development
Jennifer Kelley – Retail Design and Management
Abernathy Lighting Design
Kathy Abernathy – Lighting Design and Implementation
Jason Rainone – Lighting Design
Chris Abernathy – Lighting Implementation
Richard Wagner – Audio/Video/Controls Design and Production
Stan Johnson (Pixel Factory) – Interactive Content and Software
Don Culwell – Media Development Management
Michael Lapinski – Media Design and Production
Mark Freudiger – Graphics Production and Implementation
Vanessa Miller – Graphics Production
Ed Betts – Interactive Development Management
Dave Griffin – Software Development
Joaquin Habacon – Content Development
Interactive Production and Implementation
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