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The writing on the wall: IdeaPaint at Collaboratory 4.0

Posted by Melissa Massello  December 28, 2012 12:00 PM

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Melissa and I spend a good deal of our days typing away at Collaboratory 4.0, a new co-working space for majority women-owned businesses located inside 40Berkeley, a hip hostel in the South End.

As you walk up the curved staircase to the mezzanine home of Collaboratory 4.0, the first thing you notice is the writing on the wall. Literally. IdeaPaint coats nearly every vertical surface in the space, and we've covered it with doodles, to-do lists, and business plans.


As a freshman at Babson College, John Goscha was determined to create a canvas where he and his classmates could draw out and brainstorm big business ideas without being limited by the size of whiteboards and large pieces of paper. Founded in 2002, IdeaPaint turns nearly any smooth surface into a dry erase board.

At $225 for 50 square feet, IdeaPaint may be more expensive than chalkboard paint, but there are definite green benefits. "IdeaPaint is environmentally compliant, has low VOC content and is virtually odorless. It is GREENGUARD Children & Schools certified and Parent Tested Parent Approved," says Alex Foster, Business Development-Sales for IdeaPaint, who came to help apply the product to Collaboratory's walls.

"IdeaPaint is also LEED-compliant and can be applied over any type and any color of interior paint to achieve a dry erase surface that seamlessly blends with any interior décor. And obviously you eliminate the large amounts of chalk dust by using dry erase markers instead."


As Foster demonstrated how to mix "This" with "That" (yes, that's how you prep IdeaPaint!), he suggests having the area taped and primed ahead of time, because it's best to apply IdeaPaint within an hour for the best results. Let the paint cure for 4 days, and then it's ready to write on.

Collaboratory is in good company: Apple, Google, Tory Burch, Mass Challenge, Welch’s, SCVNGR and MIT Entrepreneurship center all use IdeaPaint. At Reebok's headquarters in Canton, they even have mannequins covered in IdeaPaint. "[The Reebok designers] sketch out new concepts and see what product designs will look like in action," says Foster. "With the mannequins coated in IdeaPaint, the they can see what a line actually looks like when it moves around the body."


Though the benefit is clear for businesses, IdeaPaint works at home, too. Especially those with kids: "IdeaPaint can create a dry erase environment wherever kids’ ideas take form including walls, desks, columns, doors, refrigerators, book shelves, etc.," says Foster.

"IdeaPaint... can turn previously unusable spaces into a collaborative, organization space where families can keep school, activities and chore schedules straight. It’s also great for grocery lists, managing kids sports schedules, menu creations and family reminders."


"It's helped us customize and transform the space," says Collaboratory 4.0 founder Kit Maloney. "I love that it personalizes our desks and allows us to immediately brainstorm anywhere on the walls Plus, we love that it helps us welcome people to Collaboratory 4.0."


This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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