Adam bought a perfectly good 20-year-old Volvo. He took it mostly apart. He spent three times its value upgrading parts. He watched endless hours of YouTube figuring out how to put it back together again. He intended to drive it to Alaska and back. The car made it to Alberta (should have replaced the transmission, too). Adam left it in a parking lot and took off in a rental. Here is what we learn: 1. The journey to the journey is more valuable than the journey itself. 2. Don’t get too attached to your stuff, it all breaks down. 3. Some people can learn to do any damn thing.
Responsibilities: Creative Direction, Identity Design, Brand Strategy, Naming, Photography, Website Design, User Experience
It is 1995. Even Flow is playing on the garage radio. It is 4:30 AM, still dark. I grab a weedeater and spare spool of line. The groundskeeper hops in the Gator cursing. I sit down next to him, and he peels out in reverse. We tear across the back nine as he points and hollers. He jerks the wheel remembering something. Still mostly asleep, I slide across the bench seat and out onto the wet green. Once I came to a stop, I remember thinking, “man, I gotta get a different job.”
Responsibilities: Naming, Sustainability, Copywriting, Business Development, Research, Brand Strategy
Do you remember the first time you couldn’t sleep? Like, something you should just be able to do, but couldn’t? Like breathing. Cat was 8, maybe 9. Her dad had new speakers. He was playing the strangest record. Strange enough to pull her attention away from her book. Her brows furrowed, eyes boring into the ceiling, book falling to the carpet: “what is this?” She rolled over and read the album cover with titles like “pink noise, brown noise, white noise.” He explained how record players work. Her tiny mind unraveled. All that night she lay in bed pulling at the threads, thinking about the shape of sound, the color of sound–a waking synesthetic dream she has never been able to shake.
Responsibilities: Identity Design, Website Design, Brand Strategy, Research
Close your eyes. It is 1999. You are in a coffee shop. A record store. A guitar shop. You have on a flannel shirt. Levi’s. You are contemplating dying your hair fuschia. You have just taken a gig as an extra on High Fidelity. It is the culmination of everything. It is perfect. You don’t even have to shave. You imagine yourself having a couple Rolling Rocks with John Cusack. Maybe even Joan. Now, open your eyes. You are Chris Jackson. You are a designer, a father. Same shirt. Same jeans. But the Cusacks are just a memory.
Responsibilities: Creative Direction, Identity Design, Brand Strategy, Naming, Research
You asked Emily to be your plus-one at your uncle’s wedding because they were in the same spin class. Things are going pretty well–you kept a low profile in the service, chilled in the last pew and played hangman on the program. At the reception, you are assigned to the Random Single Friends table with some passable talent, and within the first ten minutes they roll out a nachos bar. Solid wedding. But the DJ starts off too strong with “Shout” by the Isley Brothers, and while you roll your eyes, Emily catapults onto the dance floor and launches into a full body twist/mashed potato. By herself. You have a choice: you can either leave out the back door or do the unthinkable and join her.
Responsibilities: Project Management, Account Management, Bookkeeping, Office Management
It is Halloween 2009. There is a bike race. Griffin is racing as a gumball machine, a clear plastic trash bag filled with multi-colored balloons and a red stocking cap. The race starts casually, fun. But, it heats up. Griffin is in the front of the pack. He makes a hot turn trying to beat a light – too hot. He power slides and then bounces through the intersection. Unfortunately, there was a police officer watching. He turns on his lights and walks up, “Son, are you a f*cking idiot?” To which Griffin replies, “No, I am a gumball machine.” There are two lessons here: 1) you can get a reckless driving ticket on a bicycle; and, 2) a good story always costs you something.
She opens her closet. It was a study in monochrome. There are a dozen or so white shirts next to suits ranging from dark grey to black. Beneath them are corresponding shoes. Heels, but modest. The sort of shoes you wear to church. She makes her selection, continuing her routine. She fixes her hair. Something understated. Next, she puts on makeup. The goal is to make it look as natural as possible. She practices her smile. It is an empathetic smile. Or half smile. The lips smile, but the eyes are sad. It is comforting, but a little hard to master. As she buttons her jacket and looks one more time, she hears her mother, “Jenny! Did you take the eye shadow from the cadaver makeup again?” She replies, “No, mom. Of course not!” Then she walks down the stairs ready for work. Opens the door. Sad smile. “Please come in. I am so sorry for your loss.”
Responsibilities: Identity Design, Brand Strategy, Research, Sustainability
Jordan picked up the tour van at the airport in Madrid. Ten days later, it collapsed in the Spanish desert. He started walking while the band sat in the shade. He soon saw things that weren’t there. He saw his mom shimmering in the distance, making his favorite dish, “mash potatoes.” “Jordan,” she called, “Get off your computer and come help me!” He started to run. But, when he reached her, she disappeared. In her place was a sign that read “Peniscola – 2 kilómetros.” He shook his head and grabbed at the sign. It was real. He was 2 kilometers away from salvation. From Peniscola.
Responsibilities: User Experience, Brand Strategy, Research, Website Design, Website Development
Imagine J.Crew is a person. First name Jacqueline. Or Jessica. Jane or Juliana vacations someplace exotic like Buenos Aires. She gets over jet lag by listening to Learn to Speak Spanish audiobooks while taking long jogs under brightly colored buildings with Parisian balconies. She meets an expat writing a novel about the Human Condition. Their coffees on the terrace stretch into wine. The mysterious J.Crew returns to the United States pregnant with possibility. And, that possibility is Kate.
Responsibilities: Copywriting, Naming, Research, Brand Strategy
It’s a steamy Alabama night in 2002. The sky is green and churning. Everyone is hunkered down, waiting out the storm. Well, everyone but Meredith. Meredith is racing toward the action in her once-white Chevrolet Express cargo van, mobile storm doppler fixed sturdily to the roof. Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” blares on the radio, a mug of lukewarm Irish Breakfast chatters in the cupholder. She’s in an ongoing fantasy of herself as Helen Hunt in Twister when she takes a hard right, singularly-focused on the vortex. She leans in. Then, hears a familiar crack and, with time-honed reflexes, artfully swerves around a tree, fallen inches from her van. Meredith grips the wheel the slightest bit tighter, cranks up the radio, and floors it.
Responsibilities: Project Management, Account Management
Sanpaku is the Japanese idea that you can tell something about a person by the whites of their eyes. Abe Lincoln, JFK, had white showing below which indicated low energy, maybe trouble. Charles Manson had white all the way around. Too much energy, different trouble. Patrick had 10 days off. “Just enough time,” he said. As he said it, he went full sanpaku describing how he was going to start polyphasic sleeping, micro-dosing, or some other niche self-improvement scheme. It is a little known fact that Patrick is a life artist, an alchemist aimed at that elusive optimal plane of existence.
Responsibilities: Website Development
It was the beginning of a truly profound hangover. One of those mornings where you feel poisoned. He got out of bed not needing to get dressed. He was still dressed. He pulled on a trucker hat and glasses thinking some food would help. Mr. Greek’s was packed because of the football game. He found a two-top in the corner and sat down gingerly. His Mini Special arrived: two eggs, toast, pancakes, etc. He hears, “Yo, SBC, can I sit?” He looks up. Blinks and takes off his glasses. It’s Method Man. At his table. In Michigan. He nods weakly. Meth sits down. “That airbrush is grimy. I need one that has METH on it. With Liberty, and maybe a sunrise behind her.” Brandon looks at the airbrushed SBC on his hat and smiles. This might not be that bad of a day after all.
Responsibilities: Business Development
Two things you should know about Will: He is a good friend and loves to eat. The evidence I submit is Chili Day. It starts early. Get the fire going. The ceremonial pot. Each friend brings ingredients: chocolate, tomatoes, hand smoked chilies, venison. As the chili cooks, they eat. Biscuits, sausage, donuts, coffee. Friends come and go. Ingredients are added. And, snacks: chips, pretzels, beer cheese. Lunch rolls around. More friends. Sandwiches, cookies. Now, you probably think you would eat chili on Chili day. You would be wrong. You anticipate eating chili on Chili Day. You eat chili the next day during the Super Bowl. When you have more friends over.
Responsibilities: Business Development, Brand Strategy
A little known fact about the Coach is that he can’t resist a cookie. Someone will bring in a box. One person will get up to get one and the Coach thinks, “cool, I’ll have one.” The problem is that he thinks that each time someone gets up to have one. Then he has to have some chips so the salt and oil balances out the butter and sugar; and then he has to have a cup of coffee; and then a beer to balance that; and then a jog. It is a vicious cycle, but the Coach owns that cycle.
Responsibilities: Account Management, Business Development, Brand Strategy
His friend pointed down to the adolescent alligator easing out of the pipe in a dry culvert. “You wouldn’t wrestle that thing.” Filled with energy drink and testosterone, Zack took off his shirt and smiled that smile. Pinning it and holding its mouth closed was surprisingly easy. Lying there bragging, the horror of the situation sunk in. He could pin it, but he couldn’t let go. Alligators are fast. He remembered a key tip from an Animal Planet show about alligator attacks. So he rolled over, feeling the sandy gravel on his back with the alligator on top of him. He cradled the animal. Just him and the alligator rocking for what seemed like hours. Two lessons here: Alligators fall asleep when on their backs. And watching TV always pays off.
Responsibilities: Identity Design, Website Design, Brand Strategy, Research, Animation, User Experience
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