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.
So, when I was tasked with designing MailChimp’s own collateral to hand out at career fairs, I really took it to heart. At MailChimp, we’re not only incredibly proud of what we do, but we also have a lot of fun doing it—and it was important to communicate that to any students who moseyed on over to our booth.
Luckily, our art director, David, was on the same page. No glossy, uninspired pamphlets would come from us. He had a better idea: We would create an entire newspaper ‘bout that MailChimp life. And we would make it awesome.
Our team brainstormed some ideas for content—everything from the lead news story to the back-page crossword puzzle—and then I hit the ground running. While I threw around typefaces and experimented with colors, one of our writers, Rachael, was busy writing out articles and periodically sending design inspiration my way.
This was not only the first newspaper I’d designed, it was also the first big project I worked on at MailChimp, so it was definitely a learning experience. Every few days, when Rachael sent me a draft of an article, I would drop it into the layout and send a screenshot back to her. I was also sending screenshots over to David, and we’d occasionally print pages and post them on the wall for all to see. It was like a productive game of Pong, but I can’t say I wasn’t nervous about it. I had to learn to be OK with letting people look at super rough drafts of my work, which usually freaks me out. But this is the way most things are done at MailChimp: We work quickly and collaboratively, keeping ourselves open to feedback from our teammates.
I had to learn to be OK with letting people look at super rough drafts of my work, which usually freaks me out.
Once all the stories were in and I’d made the last tweaks to the design, we used Newspaper Club to print 2,000 copies of The Chimpington Post. We scattered some around the office, and it brings me so much joy to see visitors in our waiting area reaching for the paper after they’ve looked at every app on their phones. I’ve even seen some of my coworkers (who, duh, already work here) flipping through the pages, too.
Most of the newspapers, though, went to our HR team. At career fairs, our recruiters talk as much as they can about MailChimp in the few precious minutes they have with students. They leave the rest up to The Chimpington Post, confident that whatever they couldn’t fit into the conversation, we’ve got it covered. If someone reads through and chuckles, we’ll consider that a win. If it makes them love MailChimp enough to join the team, even better.