Large books painted on the parking garage of the Downtown Kansas City Public Library. The Hy-Vee Hot Zone with its custom Airstream trailer at Arrowhead Stadium. The 55-foot-tall clock tower in Kansas City’s Power & Light district. And the bases that hold the huge dinosaurs at the Museum at Prairiefire.
What do all of these projects have in common?
Dimensional Innovations of Overland Park has helped create them all. The 21-year-old enterprise started by Jim Baker as a sign company has morphed into a progressive design firm creating installations for clients across the country and around the world.
“We create and build cool stuff,” said Brett Posten, Dimensional’s chief brand officer. “We call them iconic brand experiences.… We like to think we liberate people from mediocre experiences.”
Q: What type of clients do you work with?
“We do this in three main categories — cinemas, sports teams both professional and collegiate, and corporate and civic,” Posten said. “Our goal is what’s the best way to tell the client’s story.”
The Kansas City Royals wanted to find a way to showcase Hall of Famer George Brett’s 3,000 hits; Dimensional worked with the team to create a No. 5 sculpture made from baseballs that represents the legendary statistic. At Children’s Mercy Hospital, Dimensional did extensive work in the ’50s-themed diner so that kids’ wheelchairs could be used around everything from the large juke box to the small scaled cars. As part of its work with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dimensional created the world’s largest hockey helmet.
Not everyone is a good fit for Dimensional’s approach.
“Our clients’ have to value design,” he said. “It’s not about the budget for us.… It’s about creating an amazing experience.… (But) if a budget gets cut, great. We look to meet the challenge.”
Posten said one of the unique aspects of Dimensional is its approach to projects.
“We try to have an ego-free environment where everyone’s opinion is valued,” he said. “Everyone has a say in making the experience, and everyone has a voice at the table including the client.”
The company has about 150 employees. Many of the Dimensional team work in a large open space that’s visible through the lobby. The space was designed to encourage lots of collaboration and cooperation.
“There’s a lot of creative energy with music playing,” Posten said.
Q: What is the makeup of your staff?
Posten said about one-third are design professionals including architects.
“We don’t stamp architectural designs, but we consult with them and think architecturally,” Posten said.
“Any word you can put in front of designer we have — graphic, interior, environmental. And they are all under one roof.… It’s like a well-choreographed ballet down there.”
The company considers them all craftsmen who work collaboratively on projects.
Q: You have a diverse client base. How do you get these clients?
Posten said the majority of the firm’s clients have come by word of mouth.
“We’ve done enough exciting work that we get referral calls,” Posten said. “We do more reacting than prospecting.”
A 4-minute, 30-second video on the company website is often used to explain Dimensional’s work to clients.
Posten said the firm had turned down projects that didn’t fit well with Dimensional’s chemistry. However, he was quick to point out that the company has done small and large scale projects for both profit and non-profit clients.
“The challenge is to continually attract the right clients and the right team members,” he said.
Q: During the recession, many design firms ran into tough times. How did your company deal with it?
“We weathered it because we have really strong relationships, and some of our clients have been with us for 20 years,” Posten said.
“There never was a master plan for what we are today. Our goal is not to be a $100 million company but to be the best version of Dimensional Innovations we can be. By that, we need clients who want to eliminate that mediocre experience.”
IN A NUTSHELL
COMPANY: Dimensional Innovations
ADDRESS: 3421 Merriam Drive, Overland Park, Kan.