A few years ago, I was working at Thomson Reuters in West Academic. “WA” published law school textbooks (casebooks) and study aids under imprints (brands) that any law school student would recognize: West, Foundation Press, Nutshells, Hornbooks, Acing Series, Law Stories, Short & Happy Guides and much, much more. I worked on wide variety of marketing projects, including lots of email campaigns, running the social channels, designing flyers, brochures, etc, etc.
One of favorite projects – if not THE favorite – was one that I got assigned just days before I was laid off. WA had an upcoming annual meeting were they brought in many of their authors for meet-n-greets, facility tours, and the like. Management decided on a baseball theme for the meeting, which included a night out at a Twins game. Instead of a boring flyer listing all the staff these authors work with (account reps, editors, senior editors, publishers, marketing people…..), they wanted to give out pack of “baseball cards” featuring the staff. They came to me, told me their vision, said “go,” and that was pretty much it!
I think this was my favorite project because it was almost 100% mine, and I managed it cradle-to-grave. I had almost full creative control, other than the main colors used (West Academic brand colors) and their clever baseball “team” name, The West Academics.
I single-handedly did all of the photography, layout, and type treatments. I developed and managed the info-gathering process, which meant getting everyone’s names, titles, contact info, photos, and in lieu of batting averages, we went with a short “fun fact” about each staff member included in the deck. Then there was at least one round of proofs that had to be coordinated with the nearly 30 employees.
Since this was a low-budget internal affair, I was relegated to using our internal TR printshop. Fortunately, I had worked with those folks on several occasions in the past and made sure to build a relationship. They’d printed part of my wedding invitations and I’d helped on the shop floor on a few minor occasions. I’d also brought them chocolate, which is an old and blatant tactic, but it still works.
Needless to say, this was an unusual job for the print shop. We had to figure out how to lay out all these “cards” on a sheet, how they’d be cut, collated, and so on. Nobody had attempted a job like this in the past, so it was a very collaborative and trial-and-error process. In the end, I had several dozen card decks, which I then packaged manually in a wrapper that I custom-designed for the meeting. The “baseball cards” even had a stick of chewing gum in each one!
The cards were a hit with the staff and the authors that came in for the convention. I’m glad that I was given the opportunity to finish this project, despite my impending departure from that organization.