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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.