Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
A little zing, a little tingle, a little rock and roll.

As a Creative Person, I have been blessed/cursed with mild manic depression. There's a real joy in making something cool, and an equally depressing sensation when I've been in a rut for a while. Yesterday I got to experience the high of making stuff again, which was, as always, amplified by showing it to a client who loved it.

The project started earlier this week as something supremely simple: an 8.5x11 four-to-six page dealie with maybe some color. Which was what I created, dutifully, making a very simple, elegant, straightforward little piece of work. It was good. It was okay. It was acceptable.

However, as I was working, I started thinking about their content, and more importantly, their intent. The client wanted to show their investors that what they had was something they had spent a great deal of time on, something important, something real and not just a nebulous, pie-in-the-sky idea. And then came the little "a-ha moment", as we used to say back at The Advisory Board. What if...? And then I got a little Alan Moore, so to speak.

I left a rushed voicemail on my client's phone, telling them that I'd be back in an hour or two, I had an idea and I needed to go get some supplies. I hopped in my car, popped some Ben Taylor Band and Keller Williams into my CD player (great stuff, I'm telling you, especially Keller's "Freeker by the Speaker") and roared down to The Art Store in Georgetown, where I spent way too much on supplies. A Kolo photo album. Some Kolo paper. Some glossy photo paper. Some ivory light cardstock. Some 28-pound high gloss HP printer paper. Some vellum. A hole punch. I grabbed up all this stuff and headed beck to the house, the whole time waging a war in my head between the gibbering creative half and the morose practical beancounting half, which was whining, "Yeah, but this is so much more expensive..." The creative half won out, because, fuck, if the client didn't like it, I liked it, and I'd just not bill them for the experimenting time and I'd use the supplies making something similar for myself. (So there.)

For the next two hours or so, I worked furiously to turn the presentation 90 degrees sideways, so it was no longer 8.5x11 tall but 8.5x11 wide, used a chisel as a makeshift screwdriver to dismantle the photo album, and did some impossibly neat magic tricks using Photoshop and our printer. When I was done, I'd made a book. A very elegant, beautiful little book. And I was high as a whole flock of kites. I was also nervous as all get out. What if the client didn't like it? I needn't have worried. Later that evening, I met the client at a coffeeshop right by his house, where I handed him a small drawstring bag. He opened the bag, drew out the book (complete with a glossy print of his logo square on the cover), and proceeded to love it. As he was flipping the pages, he grinned and said, "You have such a cool job."

He was right. I do. And I'm lucky to have very cool clients. I'll post pictures of it to my portfolio when it gets done-done. :)

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