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.
Mark, our head of marketing, thought sports cards would be a lot more fun and memorable than a list of job descriptions. Naturally, I was overjoyed to hear that we were embarking on our version of trading cards.
1990 Score Jason Travis Rookie Card / Jason trying out all the sporting props
As we started discussing the project, I looked back through the card designs of the ‘80s and ‘90s—the time when I was collecting and when trading cards were at their peak. As a kid, I had no sense for design. I played baseball for 8 years, and I just liked what I liked. Looking at them now, I realize why I was drawn to certain kinds more than others. The photography, typography, and color choices played a huge part. I notice now that certain brands feel elevated. I sent a bunch of samples and references to one of our designers, Jane, and we discussed design components that would complement the photography and vice versa.
Early card designs
“I stepped up to the plate with a completely different perspective in that I had never in my life held a trading card in my hands,” Jane says of the process. “Luckily, I had Jason to give me a crash course on Topps and Upper Deck, and how their design changed over the decades. We played around with type and colors until we arrived at something we felt demonstrated the MailChimp spirit, while paying homage to the cards Jason knew and loved.”
After some classification I started casting our sportraits.
Moving along, I started connecting technology with athletics. We wanted to show employees from different departments and highlight the roles they play, strengths we encourage, and otherwise unique skills. After some classification I started casting our sportraits. I did some prop shopping and selected employees from around the office, doing my best to capture their winning attitudes.
The results were hilarious and informative. Jane finished up the design and layout with help from Austin, one of our writers. He adapted the descriptions on our jobs page into bite-sized qualifications on the backs of the cards, sprinkling some sports references on top.
After the seventh inning stretch, Mattiel designed the packaging, and we had them printed up. The cards, along with The Chimpington Post, have gone a long way in our recruiting efforts. They were fun to make, and fun to give away—a real team effort. Here’s looking forward to the next round!