Create a witty and memorable physical experience to launch Slack's first-ever conference, Slack Frontiers.
Slack is not just a workplace messaging app – it’s where work happens. It’s also, by some measures, the planet's fastest-growing startup, counting Salesforce, eBay, NASA, HBO and Intuit among the estimated 90,000-plus companies using it. In 2017, Slack approached VSA Partners to help design a booth for Slack Frontiers, the company’s first-ever professional conference for industry leaders, customers, developers, and partners to explore how shifts in organizational culture, communication, and technology are changing the way we work.
Building on the event promise – “Where work in progress meets progress at work” – we were tasked with envisioning, concepting and designing Slack’s branded exhibition space. The goal? Create a visitor experience that’s fun, memorable, inviting, and helps showcase how diverse workplaces use Slack to unlock “flow” and make work happen.
Designing for physical spaces invites us to consider where and how people spend their time, what they do within that space, and the sequence in which they do what they do. As a team, we wanted to bring the playfulness of Slack’s brand personality to bear, while also keeping the space open and inviting, and providing opportunities for strollers-by to discover that Slack is more than just a messaging app. To start, XA created a set of experience principles, intended to serve as an articulated set of values that we could use to align our teams, create focus and guide our creative concept development.
From here, Experience Architecture partnered closely with Visual Design and Content Strategy to gather inspiration, rapidly prototype exhibit concepts and activation ideas, shape storytelling formats, and help facilitate conversations with Slack and Slack’s production partner.
The winning concept was designed to quite literally “turn work upside down” by upending, then suspending, the accoutrement of office space past. XA helped advance thinking around the physical context: that is, things like light, space, circulation patterns and social interactions happening within the environment. (#PhysicalContext101: Hanging electrical and other ceiling gack meant we’d have to work around actually suspending anything).
Turning Work Upside Down
As a team, we crafted a holistic exhibit experience centered around the ideas of Inclusiveness, Unexpectedness and Playfulness. Quirky provocations on floor graphics were designed to catch visitors’ eyes and draw them in from a distance, while the airy, open booth structure would pique their interest by providing a peek into a colorful interior packed with games and punchy posters. Once inside, attendees could team up to play a special version of Slack-themed emoji Plinko or brush up on how companies like Away and Salesforce improve their workflows with Slack.
Check it out below.