On April 20, 2011 President Obama held a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. (You can see the video here). To commemorate the event as well as to serve as an actual ticket, the design team at Facebook produced 1,500 tickets in less than 24 hours. Ben Barry at Facebook explains it all below and also provides an interesting note about what role print design can play in social media. While this post doesn’t have the usual dozen close-up photos of the juicy printing, it’s the after-math of the ticket design and production that makes this story interesting.
Unfortunately due to the aggressive timeline I couldn’t spend more than an hour or so designing these. Still I wanted to take the information I was given and make something that was nice. This was a special occasion, and I wanted to create something that was functional, but also something that people might hang on to as a way to commemorate the event.
We needed a way to make the tickets difficult to reproduce, so I was able to use our screen printing setup to put a quick varnish on these.
Because of the timeline, I only had one working day to produce these. Thankfully we were able to fit the tickets 10 up on a sheet, so we only needed 150 sheets. One of our local digital printers was able to print and deliver them that afternoon. I requested that they leave the sheets uncut as they came off the press so that I could screen print the varnish that evening.
Everything production wise was pretty simple and went off without a hitch.
The tickets and project itself, while nice, were not that interesting on their own. What was interesting was how people used the tickets on the day of the event. As I watched my own Facebook newsfeed that day fill up with friends and coworkers posting about the President’s visit, many of them used Facebook mobile to upload photos of their tickets as proof that they were about to see the President. It was really cool to watch, and a behavior I hadn’t witnessed before. People were using traditional printed ephemera as a way to tell their friends what they were doing. It’s started me thinking about new possibilities, life, and value for this kind of design work. How can we as print designers design for this behavior? How can we create things that are socially sharable experiences through photographs or other means? I don’t have those answers yet, but I’m definitely going to be thinking about it on all of my future projects.
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UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Austin, TX. More…
blogs we publish
Brand New / Displaying opinions and focusing solely on corporate and brand identity work.
Art of the Menu / Cataloguing the underrated creativity of menus from around the world.
Quipsologies / Chronicling the most curious, creative, and notable projects, stories, and events of the graphic design industry on a daily basis.
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Brand New Conference / A two-day event on corporate and brand identity with some of today's most active and influential practitioners from around the world.
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