PATIO Interactive designed, developed and built a social media installation that synchronized brand and physical space as part of its work on the Ryerson DMZ rebranding project. Along with being a very cool piece, it is also interactive. Whenever a Twitter user tweets the hashtag: #DMZ5 in a post, the installation will light up.
In early 2010, the Digital Media Zone launched as a small, experimental co-working space for Ryerson students building digital media companies. Its initial branding reflected the Zone’s “scrappy startup” character at the time. It was filled with youthful optimism, huge ambitions, minimal budgets, and a bet on the direction of the web and related applications.
By 2015, the DMZ, as it is known today, had evolved beyond an eight company co-working space, to an award-winning incubator that has launched over 180 startups and supported close to 900 innovators of all ages from around the world. Evolving far beyond merely a home digital media startups, the DMZ had transformed into a multi-sector launch pad for consumer products, a global thought leader in startups and entrepreneurship, and most importantly, an operational model that is replicated by incubators around the world. Shortly after the DMZ was awarded the #5 position in a global ranking of the world’s best university-based business incubators, both DMZ members and management knew that the old branding no longer fit the DMZ’s new identity. Following an extensive study and design process, the DMZ produced a logo that was reflective of its new status.
Critical to the re-branding was the development of an iconic centerpiece that embodied the DMZ’s new image. To solve this problem, the DMZ turned to PATIO Interactive, a Toronto-based creative design agency.
After holding ideation sessions with the DMZ, PATIO proposed a social media installation designed to showcase the DMZ’s brand, connect their past and future, and synchronize brand and physical space. The installation would have the following functionality:
- It would act as the centerpiece for the brand launch and 5 year anniversary
- It would be permanently exposed to the public in a high traffic area at Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto
- Its physical prominence would signify the transition from the DMZ’s digital focus into a multidisciplinary hub of entrepreneurship
- It would look really, really cool