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.
For puppeteer Raymond Carr, we handcrafted our beloved Freddie into a sock puppet. I sketched an idea, ordered socks, and Mattiel took care of the rest. Obviously, we’re not master puppet makers, but in the end, that kind of became the point. We tried to make something simple and quick without overthinking it. We also made a short video for Instagram.
For Mike Park, founder of Asian Man Records, I enlisted my friend Brooke Hatfield to embroider a smiley emoji along with his name and speaking date. I photograph each Coffee Hour speaker, and Mike wanted a shot with all the attendees—throwing up vulcan salutes, of course.
As an added bonus to the emojiery, Brooke included a hilarious account of every place at which she stitched:
- Park Grounds, on the brown couch by the door
- Decatur First Baptist Church for the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reading organized by the Georgia Center for the Book, where she rocked both jewel tones and my heart
- During my lunch break
- Milltown Tavern during the second Snowpocalypse
- The office of the Office of Brothers
- In a car on the way to Jekyll Island
- In a car on the way back from Jekyll Island
- On my couch while watching Kevin Hart’s Laugh At My Pain special, which was a real emotional journey because of all the joy-obliterating ASPCA commercials interspersed throughout
- Joe’s Coffee in East Atlanta, near a woman who brought her own can of Pringle’s #shero
- Park Grounds, on the outside patio, because the weather was nice and I wanted to creep on the dogs in the park outside, on a day when a particularly rambunctious dog named Jeffrey was TEARING IT UP and getting yelled at so much I thought there was a new bird that chirped “Jeffrey” repeatedly
For bestselling author Austin Kleon, Mattiel created a poster homage to his blackout poetry, and we put them all over the office. He made an excellent point during his Coffee Hour, one which he elaborates on in his new book, Show Your Work. He says that “by letting go of our egos and sharing our process, we allow for the possibility of people having an ongoing connection with us and our work, which helps us move more of our product.” I wholeheartedly agree with this mantra, and am also pretty sure that the subtext of that statement is saying we should all make more sock puppets.