Colossal Media and the art of collaboration: Sheets to the streets

Editor's note: Today Google Sheets unveiled an original artwork in NYC , designed entirely in Sheets by two artists working together from different continents. To turn their artwork into reality, we worked with Colossal Media, a Brooklyn-based company and Google Apps customer that hand-paints murals all over the world. At Google, we’re always inspired by innovative uses of our collaboration tools, so we spoke with Colossal co-founder Adrian Moeller to learn what inspires him.

Can you tell us about Colossal Media and what drove you and your co-founder to start the company?
Colossal was founded in 2004 to bring hand-painted advertising back. It was tough to get clients at the beginning because nobody wanted to hand-paint anything, it was a completely dead industry. So we built a sustainable business out of a startup, guerrilla-style beginning.

Why hand-painted advertising?
Hand-paint is in your face. It’s exciting. Being high up on buildings and painting on rigs, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Now we’re working on 400 of these projects a year.

When did you start using Google Apps?
Colossal has been using Gmail as our corporate email platform for about 10 years and in around 2008, we began to use Google Apps.

What made you choose Google Apps?
From a logistical standpoint, it made the most sense. We’re physically all over the place. We all work from different locations (offices in New York, co-workers in California, painters working out in the field across the globe) and needed a solid solution for communication and information exchange. Apps makes it easy to share concepts and ideas.

Which apps do you use most and why?
Google Drive is super helpful for Colossal. It helps keep all projects organized and managed. It’s also nice having a sharing tool to use that can be kept private.

We also use Sheets, Forms, Hangouts and Docs. From the shop perspective, Sheets is a great web-based solution that helps us create database systems for organizing, compiling and calculating job information during pre-production. Sheets also helps us deliver accurate, up-to-date information to our crew and clients who are in several locations around the city on any given day. Forms let us collect feedback from the field and gather Peer Evaluations and End-of-Job details.

How has Google Apps changed the way you work?
As Colossal has grown as a company, communication has become harder because it’s not always face to face. Google Apps has made communicating from anywhere more streamlined and efficient. The flexibility to have instant, easy access to everything we need to get the job done — whether we’re on site for a paint job or in the office across the country — from colleagues we’re collaborating with has helped us scale. When you work outdoors and wrestle with the elements, anything can happen when you least expect it. Google Apps brings all of our information to us wherever we are, whenever we need it. It’s also great that we’re able to go back and find things from eight years ago and look at it. It’s like a treasure trove of memories that travels with you.