Making a Billboard With BlackCatTips

Posted by Jason on October 27, 2015

For a couple years now, we’ve commissioned local artists to create designs for our Krog Street billboard. This month, we worked with Kyle “BlackCatTips” Brooks, a local folk artist. His playful attitude and quirky style is exactly what we look for when we commission billboards. In the video below, we hang out at his studio and different spots around Atlanta while he describes his process.

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Creativity, Diversity, and Temporary Tattoos

Posted by Jason on October 14, 2015

We’re super excited to be a sponsor of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing for the first time this year. MailChimp is all about promoting diversity in technology, so supporting this great conference was a natural fit. Part of our sponsorship involved dreaming up some MailChimp swag for attendee gift bags. We always have fun with sponsorships, but this time we were especially jazzed about the statement we could make.

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A Poster Child for Festival Sponsorship

Posted by Palmer on June 8, 2015

Music’s always been an important part of what we do here at MailChimp. Musicians were some of our earliest customers, and over the years they’ve been have been joined by a few other artists you may know, as well as some record labels, venues, and festivals.

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Data, Design, and Playing Cards

Posted by Lain on May 26, 2015

MailChimp is really good at just one thing: we combine vast amounts of data with empathetic design to make useful products. It’s kind of our only trick, but it’s a helpful one.

Our job on the marketing team is to demonstrate that one trick to new audiences around the world, either through the product itself or the brand that represents our company. The challenge is to do it in a way that’s true to our core values and that’s inclusive of the folks who’ve joined us over the past 14 years.

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Book Club

Posted by Jason on May 14, 2015

When MailChimp’s employee count stretched well past 100 with no signs of stopping, we realized a change was necessary. We needed to implement more structure around things like hiring, travel, and general office management. But the thought of overloading employees with written processes scared us. If expressing some sort of formal process was necessary, we wanted it to serve—not impede—innovation.

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Making MailChimp for Apple Watch

Posted by Drew on May 4, 2015

This post was originally published on the main MailChimp blog

Last month, when Apple unveiled their new watch to the world, my MailChimp mobile teammates and I immediately knew we wanted to build something for it. But we wanted to make it truly useful, not just an app for the sake of having one. New tech toys are fun, but we knew what we made needed utility and purpose. At first, we struggled to find a place in our mobile ecosystem for a wearable app. We set the idea aside, but it kept looming as we worked on other projects. And then, at long last, our path made itself clear.

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What does it take to make a Freddie?

Posted by Jason on April 17, 2015

In a recent DesignLab post, Jane talked about our Reply All vinyl Freddie giveaways. The plan was to have a new video for each new vinyl Freddie, revealed at the beginning of each giveaway.

The first video and giveaway featured classic Freddie, which was a challenge. Weird is easy enough to do, but how do you bring new meaning to a mascot who’s been around for more than a decade

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Replying All With Freddie

Posted by Jane on March 19, 2015

At MailChimp, we love partnering with people who are doing creative, interesting things. You may have seen one of our video spots at a conference recently or heard one of our podcast ads. One of those ads is for Reply All, a podcast about the internet. Given its audience of creative, engaged e-citizens, we thought it would be fun to use our ad space to…wait for it…reply all to listeners with vinyl Freddies.

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MailChimp Series Two

Posted by Jason on February 12, 2015

Growing up, I loved baseball cards. I even created my own using a 35mm camera and fragments of other cards. My dad used to frequent the trade shows, and we shared many weekends opening packs and collecting cards together. Recently at MailChimp, we were working on some assets for the recruiting team to hand out at job fairs, and we wanted to make something that would show potential recruits what kinds of jobs are available. 

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Redesigning MailChimp’s Guide Covers

Posted by David on February 6, 2015

One of our writers, Brandon, completely overhauled—rewrote, consolidated, eliminated, and generally updated—MailChimp’s guides recently. The guides have been a helpful tool for our users, and with these updates, they’re positioned to be even more helpful in the future.

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The Chimpington Post

Posted by Jane on January 28, 2015

Back in college, I attended a total of one career fair. I wandered around a room full of company reps standing behind tables and passing out glossy marketing materials, picked up a few business cards and pamphlets, and never gave them a second glance. I remember thinking the whole thing was a wasted opportunity. I didn’t find any jobs I was interested in applying for, and I doubt the companies—who all blurred together—were able to interest many applicants.

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Reduce, reuse, recycle, re:loom

Posted by Meg on January 14, 2015

As I was cleaning up MailChimp’s swag inventory, I noticed a spreadsheet tab called “Discontinued Items” with more than 1500 of our grey Freddie t-shirts in two sizes: unisex XXL and women’s medium. I asked around, and it became clear that a) there was no plan for the shirts, and b) no one even knew they were in storage.

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Orange You Glad You’re Platinum?

Posted by Jason on November 17, 2014

MailChimp’s benefits team wanted to reward employees who reached the top participation level in our health insurance app. The app tracks fitness and health goals, and advancing through all the levels—Bronze, Silver, Gold—on the way up to Platinum isn’t easy. It takes time and dedication, and our benefits crew thought if there was a fun prize, maybe we’d be all the more motivated.

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Posted by Jason on November 3, 2014

Not long after I started working at MailChimp, I was asked by our creative director to set up a photo resource site. I created a Tumblr called West Side Design Lab. It serves as our go-to place for social media imagery (MailChimp Twitter, MailChimp Facebook, MailChimp Instagram, etc). This way, anyone in the office can pull photos, and we never touch stock photography.

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Art Party

Posted by Mattiel on August 15, 2014

Earlier this year, I was working on a design for a MailChimp kids’ T-shirt. Searching for inspiration, I thought, “How would they design it?” So I decided to find out.

Fortunately for me, lots of MailChimp employees have children. I had my co-workers ask their kids to draw their very best versions of our mascot, Freddie, and to practice writing the word “MailChimp.” I asked them to use their favorite materials and to let their creativity take over.

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Posted by Jason on June 19, 2014

Australian design conference, Analogue/Digital, recently asked us to create a short video they could show throughout the day during their event. As usual, we started by experimenting. First, I made a short video with someone answering a phone in French while a large, wooden MailChimp logo appeared out of thin air. It was pretty loose, and partially inspired by the delightful French new wave cinema of the 1960s. It didn’t quite hit the mark, but it got us thinking—and iterating.

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More Making

Posted by Mattiel on April 16, 2014

One day about a year ago, my friend Jason asked me if I’d be interested in interning for MailChimp. At the time, I was working long hours, and my routine didn’t leave a lot of room for creative exploration. I must have been really itching to let my brain run loose, because without much thought, I happily agreed. A few weeks into my first semester as an intern, I got a taste of how far my imagination could take me.

Recruiting Ads

Posted by Jason on April 10, 2014

Every couple weeks, we do a support recruiting meet and greet here in Atlanta. In the past, we’ve posted job descriptions and meet and greet announcements online only, but we wanted to experiment, try reaching a different group of people. We decided to try placing three ads in Atlanta’s alternative-weekly newspaper, Creative Loafing.

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March Coffee Hour Posters

Posted by Jason on April 7, 2014

We often invite interesting, creative, and sometimes-weird people to speak at MailChimp Coffee Hour. These presentations are inspirational for us as spectators, but they’re also the perfect place to experiment with design ideas. We’ve made numerous posters, and even videos sometimes. March brought us a record label owner, a puppeteer, and a writer who draws. With each poster, I aim to give a little nod to each speaker’s work—an inside joke they appreciate, and we have fun making.

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Creative Change and MailChimp’s Krog Street Billboard

Posted by Lain on February 3, 2014

Every month, one of MailChimp’s designers creates new art for our billboard at the corner of Krog Street and Dekalb Avenue here in Atlanta.

The location of the billboard isn’t the greatest. It’s too high if you’re driving. It’s too low if you’re riding the train. Pedestrian traffic is minimal.

But it’s directly across the street from the Krog St. tunnel, which has long been Atlanta’s most notable street art message board. Artists, vandals, and community organizers continually paint over each other’s work, with everything from intricately designed murals to hastily scrawled ads for the neighborhood wheelbarrow festival. It’s messy. To some people, the tunnel might be a little intimidating.

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Posted by Jason on January 24, 2014

As you may have noticed, MailChimp folks love coffee. Every time someone in DesignLab makes a new Chemex pour over, they head to our chat room and announce the “fresh pot.” It’s like our Bat-Signal, except that, instead of hailing Batman in a time of distress, it sends caffeine-crazed coffee drinkers scurrying to the kitchen to grab a cup before it’s gone. Its origins can be traced back to rock ‘n’ roll legend Dave Grohl’s now-classic YouTube clip.

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Noom Crochets

Posted by Ben on January 3, 2014

A few years ago, my sister returned from a trip to Thailand bearing some awesome gifts: animal-shaped hats! Because my sister knew it would make me look ridiculous, she gave me a neon pink one in the shape of a pig. (Conveniently, she kept the monkey shaped hats all to herself.) I wore this crazy pig hat around the MailChimp office one cold winter morning, and people seemed to love it.

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Basmati Freddie

Posted by Mattiel on December 23, 2013

As a DesignLab intern this fall, I’ve been given one or two creative projects to complete each week. Through a process of challenges and critiques, our creative director, Ron, does a wonderful job strengthening my work during these assignments. Needless to say, I was thrilled when he asked me to design a billboard. Impressed by the other billboards brought to life by our team, I wanted to come up with something fun and different for the first billboard of my design career.

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Painting Chimpspiration

Posted by Jason on November 5, 2013

I’m often most inspired by those around me. The ideas that evolve directly out of everyday circumstances can be very powerful. I try to stay conscious of my surroundings and let ideas wash over me like a warm light. A warm, inspirational, great-idea light.

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The Zookeeper

Posted by Meg on October 15, 2013

About 75% of my workload as one of MailChimp’s zookeepers is related to food and coffee. Chimps are ravenous animals, and it takes a lot of effort to keep everyone fed, energized, and still somewhat healthy.

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Goes With You Script

Posted by David on October 3, 2013

Our new MailChimp Goes with You page prominently features a James Victore script. While it might have been easier to simply ask him to participate in the project initially, the actual process was a bit more convoluted. Come, peek behind our curtain.

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Iteration—Always Be Creating

Posted by David on September 6, 2013

A few months ago MailChimp was redesigned—the app, the site, the logo. Nearly everything changed. It was a lot of work, with a lot of cooks and kitchens and appetizers and Yelp reviews and well, it got kinda crazy, is what I’m saying. But one of the cool things that happens when you have great cooks involved is crossover—ideas bleed over from from one project into another, and you get weird flavors in your dish you never would have put there yourself.

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Living Walls

Posted by Jason on September 5, 2013


This year, Living Walls asked me to be a part of their media team. Since MailChimp is a sponsor of the conference, it made perfect sense—I was able to split my time and help out an amazing group of artists. I also learned quite a bit in the process.

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Freddie & Son

Posted by Jason on September 3, 2013

A simple premise: Have a co-worker dress up as Freddie and surprise his three-year-old son, who was also wearing a miniature Freddie costume (which was designed and sewn by his mother, the co-worker’s wife). Oh, to be a kid again.

Freddie in Toyland

Posted by Justin on July 23, 2013

A couple weeks ago we teamed up with our good friends at Fuzzco for a mystery box giveaway. We made people work for the prize with a fun game. The mysterious surprise was a vinyl Freddie toy, as some of you now know, and we’ve been enjoying the photos of him hanging out amongst arsenals of desk junk, busting out of his packaging, and so on. But how did this project come about?

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Hidden Rooms

Posted by Justin on July 5, 2013

Here at MailChimp, we like to keep it weird. And what’s weirder than a space-themed, hidden gift shop? I’m sure there’s weirder, but we thought it would be a cool project and a fun addition to our office that would give our visitors a chance to walk away with a grab bag of MC goodies.

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MailChimp Monkey Hats (For Cats) Video

Posted by Jason on July 1, 2013

I had a delightful time filming cats (and dogs) wearing MailChimp hats. It would have been a really delightful time to take allergy meds! (Special nod to Troy Stains for his assistance & original tune.)

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Posted by Jason on June 5, 2013

The founders of Danish software studio Robocat visited our offices last week to talk to us about the creation of their wildly successful Thermodo Kickstarter campaign. They walked us through the project, from initial idea to prototypes to the craziest month of their professional lives. The guys have a great sense of humor, and I wanted to reflect that in my poster, as well as the portraits I took of them while they were visiting Atlanta.

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ATL Collective & FOUNDFONT™

Posted by David on May 28, 2013

The ATL Collective is a group of various Atlanta musicians who get together now and then to perform a classic album live, from start to finish. MailChimp sponsored two of their most recent shows—Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run and Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison. We wanted to provide something special for the Collective and the people attending, something tangible they could take with them. For Born to Run, we screen printed a program with song titles, album history, and artist bios for the musicians. For Folsom Prison, we had gig posters printed.

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Persona Posters

Posted by Jason on May 24, 2013

Who are our customers? How do they use MailChimp?

Our UX team talked to dozens of users, acquiring tons of data and identifying motivations, traits, and needs. We used this information to create a series of archetypes that serve as a guide when designing. These personas help us keep in mind who we’re designing for, and what’s important to them.

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Chip Kidd

Posted by Jason on April 29, 2013

Working on a Chip Kidd Coffee Hour poster was a dream come true. He was one of the first graphic designers I discovered when I was younger, and I’ve always thought his book covers were astute and unpredictable. His love of Batman is something fierce, and I paid tribute to his fandom with a simple, hand-illustrated/written poster, which was then hand screen printed.

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On Building This Blog…

Posted by Aaron on April 19, 2013

Quite some time ago I came into the office with a new, vague to-do on my Basecamp… “DesignLab Blog”. As some of you may remember, the original DesignLab blog was a pretty neat place for our designers to post their work and ideas.

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Posted by David on April 16, 2013

We treat our caffeine intake seriously around here. Drip coffee flows constantly, the Chemex Crew has fresh pots ready nearly every hour, and we recently upgraded our brewing capabilities in a major way, with a La Marzocco espresso machine from Octane.

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Letters in the Attic

Posted by Justin on April 12, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of blowing the dust off an old project that hasn’t been seen by many eyes yet. Two years ago MailChimp acquired TinyLetter, a beautifully simple email newsletter app. Shortly after that came a new marketing site, rebrand, and lastly the task of creating a limited run of TinyLetter branded stationary for select users.

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MailChimp App Icons

Posted by Ron on April 2, 2013

A few months ago, Stephen Martin (MC mobile developer/designer) and I started the slow process of rethinking the MailChimp mobile app icons. During our initial exploration Louie Mantia gave a talk at the Renaissance Conference about icon families. This talk helped define our goal: keep the individual brand personality of each app while unifying the visual language.

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Andrea Seabrook Poster

Posted by Jason on April 1, 2013

Longtime NPR host and correspondent Andrea Seabrook spoke at a recent MailChimp Coffee Hour. She talked about her decision to leave NPR to found her DecodeDC podcast, which quickly raised $100,000 through Kickstarter.

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Smashing James Victore

Posted by Jason on March 21, 2013

We frequently invite inspiring people to speak at our weekly coffee hours. Recently we had the pleasure of hosting art director, designer, and author James Victore. We thought, “Hey, why not create a video for this one? And have a little fun while doing it?”

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Maddie on MailChimp

Posted by Jason on March 8, 2013

Theron Humphrey and his red tick coonhound, Maddie, have been traveling all over the country. We asked them to stop by our office on their Atlanta trip. We ended up on the roof—with our mascot Freddie.

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MailChimp Through the Ages

Posted by Jason on March 6, 2013

I love repetition. I also love illustration. I had the idea a while back of creating illustrations featuring Freddie’s head on historical figures. “MailChimp Through the Ages,” I was calling it. As I started drawing the figures, it gave way to fictional characters.

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Posted by Jason on March 5, 2013

A few months ago I went to see British metallers Napalm Death on their latest U.S. tour stop in Atlanta, and it sparked my interest in heavy-metal logos. There were four other bands on the bill and about 50 different t-shirts lining the wall around the merch booth.

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