I generally don’t like gimmicky designer promos, unless the gimmick goes the full monty and becomes something that gets my undivided attention for more than one minute (but no more than 5, that’s the cutoff for procrastinating on fun things that come in the mail). Seeing Jamie’s Wolly Willy promo is like getting a shot of childhood adrenaline, you just have that immediate connection with it and I’m sure (or at least assume) that potential employers would have a similar reaction and give him a bit more attention than to a resume that came in a plain envelope. The final piece looks amazingly finished, like something you could buy at Urban Outfitters. It’s hard to tell this wasn’t mass produced, especially because of the touch of silver silkscreen, it gives that extra production oomph. Although he picked good personalities as examples to line the package, I wish there was a Carrot Top.
If you’re not familiar, Wooly Willy is a cheap magnetic toy that lets you create hairstyles by moving metal filings around with a magnet wand. I used to play with them as a kid and remember drawing beards, mustaches, mo-hawks, then quickly shaking it clean to start again. More recently (now slightly older, with a shaved head resembling “Willy”) I saw one in a toy store and thought that it might work as a unique self-promo. The concept was pretty simple, essentially the different faces you could create would represent a character trait or ability of mine as a graphic designer.
A resume disguised as hours of fun, how could that NOT work? I included my portfolio and resume, but more importantly it was a great way to show a little personality, something not easily picked up on from a standard cover letter. I hoped it would be memorable and engaging — something that wouldn’t be thrown away, and perhaps even displayed.
I used recognizable pop culture icons that I thought best illustrated my personality and work habits and tried to keep the message fun and conversational. One of the hardest parts of this project was thinking of the reference characters to use, I went back and forth between using “real” people or just doing generic characters (like a gunslinger or superhero). After much deliberation and many suggestions from friends, I decided on Elvis, Robin, Bob Ross, Superman, Mr. T, and MacGyver. I would like to note however that Chuck Norris, James Bond, Telly Savalas and Burt Reynolds nearly made the cut.
The final piece was sent to potential employers in a padded envelope with a more formal resume and portfolio on a CD.
Fortunately I screen print in my free time, so the printing went off without a hitch and best of all, aside from the materials, it was free. Unfortunately there was a lot of hand work involved on the back end, so keeping everything clean and crisp was top priority.
There were several parts that needed to be glued: the front blue sheet to the plastic cover, inserting the magic wand and metal filings, then finally aligning everything and gluing the front and back chipboard sheet together. Looking back, a dry run would have definitely been helpful during assembly. I ruined one or two before I got into a rhythm of putting everything together. Since I was making such a small quantity I tried to be pretty careful from that point on.
There weren’t any huge “A-ha” moments, but one thing I did was to use a quarter-inch corner punch to round off the edges. It’s a really inexpensive way to give everything a finished look, it also kept the corners from being bent in the mail.
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UnderConsideration is a graphic design enterprise that runs a network of blogs, publishes books, organizes live events and judged competitions, and designs for clients.
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.
Speak Up (2002 – 2009) / Discussing, and looking for, what is relevant in, and the relevance of, graphic design. Archives Only.
Word It (2003 – 2010) / Encouraging creative diversity in the community through monthly, one-word challenges. Archives Only.
Brand New Classroom (2010 – 2011) / Providing a space for critique and opinions on student identity workArchives Only.
Department of Design / Designing corporate and brand identities and full development of printed and digital matter for clients.
The 2010 FPO Awards / 2011, self-published.
The 2010 Brand New Awards / 2011, self-published.
Flaunt: Designing effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work / 2010, self-published.
Events & Judged Competitions
Brand New Conference / A one-day event on the development of corporate and brand identity projects by some of today’s most active and influential practitioners from around the world.
Brand New Awards / Celebrating the best identity work produced around the world.
FPO Awards / Celebrating the best print work from around the world.
Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design / 2009, Rockport.
Women of Design: Influence and Inspiration from the Original Trailblazers to the New Groundbreakers / 2008, HOW Books.
The Word It Book: Speak Up Presents a Gallery of Interpreted Words / 2007, HOW Books.