Each year the University of Baltimore participates in Artscape, the nation’s largest free arts festival, by hosting Gamescape, a student-focused exhibition that showcases retro arcade and cutting-edge indie games created by local game developers, designers and students. With over 300,000 people over three days attending the festival (located in UB’s backyard), gamescape gives the University a phenomenal opportunity to put their brand on display. Though getting noticed at a festival of this size is tough, doing so while actually saying something about the brand and the art scene as a whole is even tougher. The University of Baltimore turned to idfive to help them capitalize on this phenomenal branding opportunity and draw in the local community.
UB and idfive collaborated to create a retro, pixel-based theme for the event that was reminiscent of the 8-bit graphics of the early video game era, otherwise known as pixel art. Decorating the area just outside of the school’s gaming space were props, signs, footpad factoids and a 90-foot illustration of the Baltimore landscape as a video game level—all in pixel form. The theme’s popularity attracted and kept a range of visitors, and spurred instant social media attention, allowing Gamescape to function as its own event within the festival. The event was also honored with a Gold Collegiate Advertising award, as well as a Gold award from Baltimore’s American Advertising Federation.