For the last several years, we’ve sent custom-designed wrapping paper to our clients, partners, and friends as our holiday card.
Several of us have had corporate jobs and know what it’s like to get a lot of useless stuff in the mail around the holidays, so we thought it should be useful. We wanted something that invited a creative divergence — but had some rules. As Charles Eames rightly said, design is about constraints. So we created a little system for ourselves including an over-sized plastic sleeve and a few sheets of corrugated cardboard and have been playing it out since 2003.
Initially some recipients a little dumbfounded, not knowing what to make of the gift. Now clients ask for it in advance. Recently the mail room staff for one of our clients sent us a list of names of people who were no longer with the firm. We told them to keep the packages for themselves. That’s when they revealed their internal debate about whether to tell us in the first place… they were afraid if they did, they wouldn’t be able to keep them! They’re on the list for next year.
Stuffing the over-sized packages has become an annual team effort that consumes the office. Scott observed recently that the packing assembly line is an important tradition, an opportunity for the junior people to get a little casual time with whoever is passing through. That’s part of the charm of the whole thing.
We’ve won awards, made friends, and had fun doing it. This year’s contribution by Adam is no different. It features cows in ties and high heels. These cows are saying something — but it’s up to you to decide.
We don’t really know what happens to the paper beyond little anecdotes. For kicks, and in case there are some who still don’t know what to do, we took a quick poll to create a David Letterman-style top 10 list of things to do with our wrapping paper. To wit:
Top 10 things to do with Peopledesign wrapping paper
10. Use it for Santa Claus paper (you can’t get it it anywhere else!).
9. Host a paper hat party.
8. Convince friends you’re an international trendsetter — tell them it’s the hottest thing in France
7. Wrap fish in it.
6. Crumple into a ball, dip in batter, roll in breadcrumbs, and deep-fry for 30 seconds. Serve with mayonnaise.
5. Wallpaper your bathroom.
4. Go Robert Sabuda and make a holiday pop-up.
3. Use as fire starter.
2. Place on tongue as litmus paper test to check if you’re naughty or nice.
1. Regift it.Author: Kevin Budelmann