In September, the Hero Digital design and UX team went on an insanely fun and surprisingly impactful outing to Color Factory, a two-story interactive exhibit celebrating color and material that descended on San Francisco this past August. It’s been very popular (and has been sold out for almost the entirety of its run). As soon as we found out about it, we knew we had to go. It’s not merely an exhibit, it’s a fantastic experience of color for all the senses — perfect for a customer experience company! So in the spirit of not over-describing an exhibit that defies explanation, we’ll instead show with images of some of our favorite rooms and experiences.
A quick poll of our favorite rooms:
- Yellow Room – 9
- Ribbon Room – 4
- Confetti Room – 3
- Purple Selfie Room, Rainbow Corridor, Rainbow Lounge, Bath Room – 1
And, because we’re a customer experience company and can’t resist sharing key learnings (old habits die hard), here are the biggest takeaways we discussed after our eyes, brains, and smile muscles recovered from the Color Factory onslaught.
- Car and house keys in the ball pit = BAD.
- The confetti room is best experienced in a group. You need other people to laugh with when you when you suck multicolored confetti up your nose.
- The best rooms encouraged play (rather than the “exhibit” rooms that didn’t allow you to touch anything. Boo to not being able to touch anything.)
- Unencumbered exploration makes you feel like a kid again. The first exhibit, for example, used smells to take visitors back to childhood experiences, such as “digging for earthworms” and “grape bubble gum that loses its flavor after 2 minutes.” Recalling the simplicity and joy of childhood is intoxicating.
- Fabric muffled sound in the ribbon room and created an incredible and welcome sense of peace and calm.
- Printed photos are more fun than their digital counterparts.
- The green room offered huge green pens, which made it difficult to draw, but also reminded us of being kids (see the above point on encouraging play).
- Experiences designed specifically for the selfie-culture are incredible because they feel like an obvious extension of the encouragement to play. They can also be incredibly annoying when people focus too much on taking the perfect pic, rather than capturing pure serendipity.
For a team focused daily on designing world-class customer experiences, Color Factory was a revelation. It offered the rarest of experiences: stunning and interactive art that felt both enjoyable and also incredibly meaningful on a personal level. When you can turn art, and its experience, back inward on people’s memories, and therefore help them experience it in their own unique way, you’ve hit the jackpot. Color Factory nailed it.