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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.