lost memos still somewhere in a pile on our desk


To: Buzzword Buzzards

From: Ferdinand Bollocks Jr.

Date: August 2014

Subject: Lies Before Labor Day

There is no question that the past month has been a prosperous one for B.S. Inc. But as we move into August, I want to reiterate how important it is to be on our guard against the complacency & sloppiness that comes with success and spoils it in the long run.

August is a tough month. Always has been, always will. The majority of our target audience is well-rested and therefore resistant to techniques which might earn easy access to their trust during busier times of the year.

We may not be able to target individuals as effectively as we would like to, but big brands have always been a dependable source of business for us.

As you well know, big brands are sinking ships that need a hand to hold while they self-destruct. We are that guiding, consoling hand that will let go at the last moment. But until that moment comes, we need to keep reassuring them that consumers want to be best friends with their “values” via clever marketing. As the best buzzword buzzards in the business, we must continue to blow smoke in their eyes about the importance of “engagement” through social media.

Let us go to the whip and steep the hazy days of summer in false promises. Keep the standards of B.S. Inc. high by walking the subtle line between not lying and not telling the truth either.


To: Potential Clients

From: Web Designers

Date: Shouldn’t Take Long

Subject: How to Lose a Web Designer in Ten Easy Steps

Hiring a web designer is easy. All you need is money and a big idea. But the opposite is true as well — losing a web designer takes little to no effort (for most people). Here are ten simple ways you can send web designers running for the hills.

1. Fail at basic grammar

We’re not asking you to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Just learn how to proofread.

2. Be rude

Email is not the place to lash out at us because something isn’t working for you. We like to keep polite comany.

3. Introduce the Committee

Say hello to poor decisions and pointless meetings. No, thanks. We have other clients to attend to.

4. Share your life story

Flooding our inbox with essays about your hopes and dreams only makes our eyes glaze over.

5. Remain anonymous

On the other side of the spectrum, telling us about your project without any introduction is rude. And kind of creepy.

6. Indulge your inner Napoleon

Capitulating to your every whim is a lose-lose situation. We learn from our mistakes.

7. Change your mind about everything

We know that, down the line, you will ask us to make changes even after we say — “final call.”

8. Become a font specialist overnight

We just don’t want to argue with you over things which clearly aren’t in your area of expertise.

9. Depend on us for business decisions

Asking for advice is fine but we don’t want to be responsible for your bottom line.

10. Fail to listen to our feedback

If you don’t read through the emails we send you, why should we bother with yours?


To: Inspector Garamond

From: International Crimes Against Type

Date: Since 1983

Subject: Papyrus Must Be Stopped

We write to you with with great urgency, Inspector.

Papyrus is at it again. We’ve received reports of recent sightings from members of the type community. The usual — backwoods travel pamphlets, “mediterranean” menus, cheap wine labels. Ever since he began infiltrating middle school reports on ancient Egypt, he has found victims left and right. I don’t have to remind you of the day his career in crime took off with the Avatar movie poster. It was a sad time for all of us.

We’ve tried removing his presence by force but with little success. His methods of targeting innocents have proved to be so wicked, so pervasive that we need to consider more clever ways of beating him at his own game.

That’s why we need you, Inspector. You are a man of the people — gracing the pages of Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter — yet remain a friend to even the most discerning among us. Lead by example. Confront the Egyptian imposter. The safety of the type community rests in your capable hands.


To: Scribes of Crocodilopolis

From: Sobek, Your Local Crocodile God

Date: 332 BCE

Subject: Book of the Fayum

Yesterday at dawn, as I was watching the procession of mummified crocodiles and sampling a platter of fresh dates, my centuries-old flesh suddenly felt mortal.

All this — the olive groves, rose-scented distilleries, black water and black soil — could disappear with nothing to show for it but a few stones from my temple’s steps.

My shipments of jewels across the red lands bring stories of prosperous kingdoms far less fertile than ours. What do our merchants tell, when they travel with our oils and perfumes?

So I appeal to you, scribes. I want the Book of the Fayum to be a map that articulates the divine through the natural layout of the region. In other words, follow the topography but embellish as you wish.

This will not be a single sheet of papyrus. We will produce many and scatter them in the hands of local priests and foreign visitors, saving the most complete version for my own halls.

If you have any doubts about the shape of lakes and rivers, ask one of my crocodile attendants. But be warned: they do bite.


To: Freshman Web Designers

From: Senior Web Designers

Date: it never gets old

Subject: 10 types of clients every web designer will encounter

Hello, Freshmen. Welcome to the jungle. As part of your initiation, we thought we would tell you about what’s in store for you. It’s not too late to turn back.

1. The Can’t-Get-It Together

This client will not be able to send you all the materials you need to finish their project. You’ll ask for three lines of text and they’ll “work on it” for a few weeks. You’ll ask for images and they’ll disappear.

Our advice: At the end of the day, it’s their business. If you have done your part, they can procrastinate as much as they want.

2. The Would-Be Designer

This client thinks they can do your job. They expect you to execute a literal translation of their “vision” and you might have trouble convincing them them that their ideas are not going to work.

Our advice: Pick your battles. Stand your ground on big things but let them have what they want when it comes to small details.

3. The Poor Dreamer

This client has big plans but no money. Often, these are the fun projects, in areas like food or the arts. They’ll want everything but expect to get it for nothing, asking you to invest in their goals.

Our advice: Don’t get involved and don’t undervalue your services. You have your business and they have theirs.

4. The Quiet Crazy

This client appears normal in every respect. Your initial conversations are pleasant and you are on the same page. Then, as you begin working together, you realize that you are dealing with a basket case.

Our advice: Your ability to detect the crazies will become more refined over time, but even the most experienced of us fall for them sometimes.

5. The Logomaniac

This client will ask you to make their logo bigger. Or, they will insist that you use their horrible old logo even if you offer to design a new one. Or, they will ask you to use fonts that are completely inappropriate.

Our advice: Explain that a bigger logo will not make a bigger impact and why your font choices are a better fit for their brand.

6. The Senior Committee

This client lives in B.C. — before computers, that is. They are old fashioned and believe that every design decision needs a meeting. You will get stuck in a gridlock of bad taste and endless back-and-forth emails.

Our advice: Avoid committees at all costs. It will never end well and they will never listen to your advice.

7. The Flip Flopper

This client changes their mind all the time. You will ask them to approve a design only to get an email the next day asking to change it. They will not understand the concept that at a certain point, all design decisions are final.

Our advice: Don’t indulge their indicisiveness. Give a limited number of options and ask them to choose. Be firm with deadlines.

8. The Squirrel Monkey

Have you ever seen a monkey try to eat jello? Watch this, if you haven’t. This client is exactly like that — they start more projects than they can handle and have a hard time finishing any of them.

Our advice: Suggest that they can always add more later, as long as they cover the basics first.

9. The Google Challenged

This client will ask you stupid questions by email when they could have easily found the answer using Google. They will treat you as their one and only resource on all things web related.

Our advice: Tell them to Google before asking you. Don’t let them waste your time, or tell them that they have to pay for it.

10. The Crisis Seeker

This client will make the smallest problem seem like an emergency. They will expect you to drop everything and help them until everything is fixed. It doesn’t matter if the problem is out of your hands.

Our advice: Calmly explain the situation. Stay away from clients who are rude or demand too much of your time.

All Memos