On May 10, 1869 in Promontory, Utah one of the most monumental and historically relevant events in American history occurred; the joining of the Transcontinental Railroad. 150 years later the State of Utah and other key partners we prepared to throw the biggest party since 1869 to celebrate this momentous day and pay tribute to the workers and people who were responsible for connecting America.
To begin branding the event, we created a simple logo and visual identity for the series of events that we’d named Spike 150. The story of the Transcontinental Railroad, and its impact on Utah, is one that is varied and complex and we wanted the visual story to be inclusive of all parts. So we created a flexible design language of tiles that each represented an important aspect of the railroad’s historical story.
The tiles were randomly placed together, colored, and turned 10 degrees with a railroad and the center. Dubbed the Quilt of America, this visual language formed the basis for all the events’ art direction.
Every great event needs a great website to be the centerpiece for information. The Spike 150 website was designed to tell the story of the railroad, showcase the statewide events, handle ticketing traffic, and ultimately be a long-term time capsule as a record of the events that occurred to celebrate the 150th anniversary.
Starting with the 149th anniversary celebration of the joining of the railroad, we helped with getting the larger state community engaged, excited, and invited to the 150th anniversary celebration and the other statewide events that were to occur. Through a series of save the dates, toolkits to engage partners, invitations, and more we were able engage the community, counties, and cities all around Utah as we strived to create 150 different statewide events for Spike 150.
To help get community partners (cities, counties, etc.) on board with Spike 150, we mailed partner toolkits to key stakeholders within the various organizations. Designed to encourage their involvement it included fact sheets, pins, a countdown clock, plastic toasting glasses, and more.
Key stakeholders and community leaders were invited to the primary events, initially with a formal save the date. We then created a unique “ticket satchel” invitation that house individual invitations for each of the primary events that they were invited to attend; including the Sesquicentennial Ceremony.
Ultimately, Spike 150 was a community event designed for the community to celebrate the historical accomplishments of Utah’s heritage. Various advertising and media methods were used to reach out to the general public and get them interested and excited in the events including newspaper advertising, billboards, pole banners, radio, tv, and more.
After all the promotion of Spike 150 nearly 2.5 million people came from all over the world to participate, and once again, our nation came together to educate, inspire, innovate, and share the legacy of the Golden Spike.
One of the major components of the state’s Spike 150 initiative was an education and learning segment designed to get school aged kids involved with the story of the Transcontinental Railroad and those who built it. We helped develop an augmented reality program that allowed kids, with their phones, to place themselves in scenes and objects from the past including in the famous “driving the final spike” photo.
We developed an illustrated poster for the campaign and sent one to hang in every classroom in the state of Utah. These posters included a QR code, allowing students to unlock the past on the developed AR website.
On Friday May 10, 2019 at Promontory, Utah more than 40,000 people joined community leaders from the State of Utah, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and cultural heritage groups to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the driving the golden spike. A weekend of celebration continued after the formal 150th anniversary ceremony at Promontory Summit.
The completion of the railroad, much like the first moon shot in 1969, unified our nation and showed the world that great things happen with vision, hard work, dedication, and collaboration. The yearlong celebration included more than 150 events hosted in communities throughout the state.