Creative Courtney Rickard of Wirestone was our 2011 Winter New Year New Cubicle winner. She wowed us with her creative holiday card where she and her fiancé dressed as figure skaters. Check out her inspiration and our runner ups fun take at our contest here!

Courtney works with a whole creative crew, so we instantly knew we had to create something special for them. She hoped that we would be able to create a small brainstorming area that all her colleagues could share. The Catalyst Ranch Design Team set out to create a space that multiple project groups could use and record the output of their creative processes…….


Butcher Paper Wall: A Brainstorming Solution

More and more we need technology to keep our edge in reducing costs and sending info to clients out of town; and it is nearly seamless with file sharing and video networking. We don’t even need to be in the same room, let alone the same country, to brainstorm and innovate while working.

But what about the personal touch? After spending hours brainstorming and finally coming up with that golden idea that electrifies the whole group and makes the end result tangible: who do you high five when you’re the only one around?

While taking on an assignment to provide a creative environment to a section of an office space used by many  employees, a conundrum presented itself: how do you make a small brainstorming area used by multiple project groups available to all, yet quickly save all the ideas without the services of a transcriber, so that another project team can brainstorm in the same space with a new group of clients? Our solution….

With only a few building materials, and some sweat, we hung three rolls of butcher paper from the ceiling to create a low-tech brainstorming area that can quickly be reused as new clients come in, without the need for a transcriber to sit in on the session. Wirestone has a nice amount of wall space in the area they’ve dubbed their “Creativity Pit.” Previoiusly they’d wheel in dry erase boards while they worked on projects, using someone to transcribe the session in order to erase what had been written to make room for the next group. While no actual information was lost, the context and even the evolution of the ideas generated during the session could be lost when transcribed. Our idea was to create a more permanent record without taking up more space.

The Creativity Pit is a twelve by five foot space surrounded by cubicles with a couch, some comfy chairs, and a mini fridge facing a blank wall where the dry erase boards could be wheeled in front of. We chose to use three rolls of butcher paper spaced roughly half a foot apart, secured by nylon rope to eyehooks in the ceiling and attached to ½ inch oak dowel rods by turnbuckles to make adjusting the height and leveling the rolls of paper super easy. A clinch knot was used to ensure the weight of the paper rolls would help keep them in place.

The paper rolls were hung high enough to keep anyone from bumping their heads into them while working and a foot off the wall to allow the rolls enough room to spin. We also attached a yardstick for each roll of paper to the walls about six feet up from the floor with just enough space behind to allow the butcher paper to slide underneath. The yardsticks keep the paper close enough to the wall to write on and is useful when tearing away used butcher paper. A few sheets of plastic-core attached to the wall will keep permanent markers from bleeding through and damaging the walls behind the paper. (And with plastic-core coming in a variety of colors it can add new colors to your space without the high cost of a new paint job!)

Not only is this an efficient and inexpensive way to add writing surfaces to any space, it isn’t just for working! Use the Butcher Paper Wall for team building exercises, or just for fun playing drawing games or epic Hang Man battles, the only limit is your creativity!