Tuesday, March 21, 2017

IdeaPaint: The Paint to Keep Ideas Flowing

Ever spent long nights working on a project that just doesn't seem to get done? We've all been there. Working into the wee hours of the night can prove to be a tiring experience, to say the least. Many times, we face idea block and need write and erase our thoughts many times. Instead of using and reusing paper, you can buy IdeaPaint and transform walls into dry erase boards.

An idea bubbling since 2002, John Goscha and friends created paint that turns your walls into dry erase boards. IdeaPaint minimizes a step when looking for a place to work. Instead of buying dry erase boards and wheeling them in and out of your space, you can simply buy the paint and have a permanent solution to needing more space to work. This is a reusable and environmental friendly way to continue fostering ideas. It is also a positive solution for collaborative workplaces where wheeling a whiteboard in and out can be tedious.

Goscha and his friends recognized there was a problem when they were in college. They were working on a project and covered all of their walls with paper, but every time the paper ran out, they had to rip it off the walls and put more paper up. They soon realized this was ineffective and there had to be a better solution. Goscha used analytical thinking, as discussed in Van Steenberg's article, to solve this problem. Unlike insight thinking, he immediately recognized the problem and used mental imagery to find a solution. He knew exactly what he wanted, so he looked online and was shocked to find there was no paint that could turn walls into dry erase boards. When realizing that his solution did not exist, he got to work.

Goscha found many failures with his creation; he had to go through multiple labs and even more partners and fundings until he finally invented the perfect formula. Since then, IdeaPaint exploded and has been an enormous success.

I first heard of IdeaPaint last summer at my fellowship. We were redoing the office and almost every employee requested a wall to be painted with IdeaPaint. Similarly, all of the collaborative workspaces were painted with IdeaPaint. This is common in 1871 as well, a collaborative workspace in Merchandise Mart. We even have IdeaPaint walls here at Loyola, such as in Engrained Cafe. IdeaPaint is a way to create more space to think with respects to the environment and efficiency.


  1. I had no idea the walls in Engrained were IdeaPaint! I thought that was some kind of installation. I think this idea is ingenious because I know people like to write and rewrite things for their classes as practice but don't necessarily need the paper. I've also heard how whiteboards are very expensive for schools so this might even be a substitute for schools that don't have proper amount of funding for funding. It's environmentally friendly and promotes using physical work spaces to study. I know personally that I need to write everything out in order to understand the information, which has been proven to be an effective method to studying. I wonder if Loyola would be more willing to paint the walls in the library and IC with this paint. I know UIC has a study area that is all whiteboard.

  2. In particular, it stuck out to me that you mentioned, “he knew exactly what he wanted, so he looked online and was shocked to find that there was no paint that could turn walls into dry erase boards.” In one of our readings from class, I can't recall which, it was mentioned that for many creatives, their products seem so “obvious” that they might not realize how creative they are. When the idea comes to them, it’s almost like any other thought.

    Additionally, like Anisha, I have also wondered about the wall area in Engrained, but did not know that it was IdeaPaint. As she also mentioned, I think it would be a great idea to cover certain walls of the IC with IdeaPaint (even if it’s in a designed study area or even just the study rooms).

    White boards can definitely get pretty pricey, and also take up space on the wall. Using IdeaPaint, many of these hassles can be eliminated. It is convenient that they have a versatile clear paint top coat, so that it doesn’t have to interfere with someone’s interior decoration (forcing them to do white, for example). When in use, the walls are covered in thoughts, and when not, the “white board” is not visible which allows for a sleek, clean look.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I think that this idea is great for the reasons mentioned already. A good way to save paper waste and turn any surface into a work station is great. I wonder what the environmental repercussions would be for this creative product. It is a great way to save paper, but is the production of this paint also eco-friendly? I like the way that Goscha used insight thinking to immediately picture what he wanted and then start creating it. Often, impulsive ideas are the best and having a successful product result from this method shows just how creative he was.

  4. this paint is an ingenious idea. having an entire wall to write on is creative and inspires creativity. Do you know if this came before or after chalkboard paint? Was it inspired by or did it inspire chalkboard paint? It's interesting that you mentioned the failures and the countless amount of time that he put into creating the product. Many times creatives seem to be lauded for the product and the struggles are forgotten by the average person. Do you know if this is permanent? I'm just curious because some people like to repaint their walls. How will this affect the walls in the long run? It's interesting to me how entrepreneurs are almost always creative people because they see the obvious gap for a product the market didn't know it needed until it was available.

  5. I have an internship at a company and one of the biggest struggles we had was the amount of whiteboards we had but not enough space to map our ideas as a Marketing Department. Between sales leads, to-do lists, and design ideas, we need a lot more space-- and so we actually used this exact paint on our department walls as well as in conference rooms in our office. It's extremely space efficient and we love using it! I will say that when we first used it took a while to get the dry erase markings off but I think the longer you have it up the easier it gets to clean it.
    The thing I loved about that idea is that there's nothing inherently wrong with white boards or having them, but he found a solution to a problem that wasn't necessarily there.


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