You’ve heard of people who reject the swinging pendulum of society. Swearing off group think, group fitness, groupon. People like Miriam Lancewood, who realized she had parted ways with society when she washed her hair with her own urine. But, there are also voices in the wilderness amongst us. Those who burrow into the minds of suburbanites, industrial mechanics, midtown bros. Elbow deep in the modern advancements that push society along, they do not flatter themselves the ability to dismantle the system like the transmission of a school bus. No. They bear the weight of reality, biding the time until the wilderness beckons them back.
Responsibilities: Creative Direction, Identity Design, Brand Strategy, Photography Art Direction, Video Production, Website Design, User Experience
She turns the corner, new shoes hitting the sidewalk in perfect rhythm. She straightens her blazer and looks up. Chin high. A picture of poise. “There She Goes” plays quietly from her Discman, echoing her confident early-summer buoyancy. You open the front door, feeling a little unkempt. You reach for a handshake. She extends a teenaged hand holding a business card: Anne Dean. Founder and president. Babysitters club. You exhale, “thank god, come in.”
Responsibilities: Naming, Copywriting, Research, Brand Strategy
Austin is at a rest stop in North Dakota, deeply disheveled. He’s been listening to Rumi on audiotape for three days straight. He is standing next to the restroom blankly reading the visitor’s information under the flickering bulb: “moose are generally slow-moving and sedentary unless startled. At which time they can move quickly, running up to 35 mph.” Still blank, he turns (a little startled) to see an actual moose snuffing the trash a few feet away. The moose notices him. Austin’s instincts kick in. His right hand forms a variant of the “hang loose” sign. He stares deeply into the eyes of the animal, arm extended, hand twisting slightly. A vague, didgeridoo sound comes from his throat. While his eyes are those of the mystic, the rest of him is full Crocodile Dundee. The moose stands transfixed for a moment before wandering back into the prairie, occasionally stopping for a tuft of grass.
Responsibilities: Copywriting, Research, Naming, Website Content, Brand Strategy
It is 1995. Even Flow is playing on the garage radio. It is 4:30 AM, still dark. I grab a weedeater and spare spool of line. The groundskeeper hops in the Gator cursing. I sit down next to him, and he peels out in reverse. We tear across the back nine as he points and hollers. He jerks the wheel remembering something. Still mostly asleep, I slide across the bench seat and out onto the wet green. Once I came to a stop, I remember thinking, “man, I gotta get a different job.”
Responsibilities: Naming, Sustainability, Copywriting, Business Development, Research, Brand Strategy
Close your eyes. It is 1999. You are in a coffee shop. A record store. A guitar shop. You have on a flannel shirt. Levi’s. You are contemplating dying your hair fuschia. You have just taken a gig as an extra on High Fidelity. It is the culmination of everything. It is perfect. You don’t even have to shave. You imagine yourself having a couple Rolling Rocks with John Cusack. Maybe even Joan. Now, open your eyes. You are Chris Jackson. You are a designer, a father. Same shirt. Same jeans. But the Cusacks are just a memory.
Responsibilities: Creative Direction, Identity Design, Brand Strategy, Naming, Research
In grade school, Emily told you about the “kick me” sticky note someone had slapped on your back. When you gave yourself bangs in high school, your friends assured you they didn’t look so bad. Emily told you the truth: they’ll grow back. Coming from someone else, this candor might have been bewildering. But Emily isn’t someone else. Because when you bring your Italian beau home for Christmas after a semester abroad and Emily tells you she likes him, you’ll know for certain that you’ve made the right choice.
Responsibilities: Human Resources, Account Management, Bookkeeping, Office Management, Sustainability
You know the doppelganger memes where there is a famous person next to an old picture? Well, there is a painting of a utopian community in the colonies and next to Hawthorne is Evan telling them they are being too conservative. There is an image from a Detroit labor union, a Kentucky mine strike. There is an image from a civil rights march. At every turn Evan is urging his comrades towards compassion, towards the common good, and, goddammit, he is urging them a hell of a lot further left.
Responsibilities: Digital Project Management, User Experience
A few out-of-context snippets from Diane Keaton’s Wikipedia page making me think she and Kate might have a psychic link:
+ Women can bear the dramatic weight,
+ A journalist and feminist.
+ Baggy pants and fedora hats.
+ She is just what she needs to be:
+ Every shade of pride and panic,
+ A grace that makes it stick,
+ A sorceress at blending,
+ So wise it frightens.
Responsibilities: Copywriting, Naming, Research, Brand Strategy
Keionna grew up wealthy beyond measure. Her days were spent in a tower like a castle: the hallways lined with walkers, the antiseptic smell. From behind doors, there was the constant, but muffled sound of too-loud televisions tuned to different channels. And, there were the women, the grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. The doting women with papery skin and hair like stubborn grey wires, bodies bent by the constant pull of gravity. She was rich, that is certain. But, it had nothing to do with money. It was her status as the keeper of the schedule, the caller of Bingo, the leader of song. At five years of age, she was rich because she was deeply loved.
Responsibilities: Account Management
Ay, mijo! Que es esto? What is what, mama? Quien es Rosca, donut boy? And that is the moment. Oscar realized the importance of typography and had a foreshadowing of his future. He made the kindergarten mistake of running out of space when writing his name across the top arc of his medal. When he carried the leftover -r to the next line, his name looked like Rosca. And that is the power of kerning, of a strong baseline. What should have been a proud moment became a nickname that has been hard to shake.
Responsibilities: Website Design, Website Development, User Experience
You’re three drinks in at the work holiday party. Tim’s telling you a story about something he read this week. You’re pretty sure he said it was in the New York Review of Books, but what he actually said was that he read it while he was in New York, reviewing books. Magazines, technically, in the airport bookstore. Southern Living. You’d been looking for a good pecan pie recipe anyway. And besides, it’s nice to be in cultured company.
Responsibilities: Business Development, Brand Strategy
Two things you should know about Will: He is a good friend and loves to eat. The evidence I submit is Chili Day. It starts early. Get the fire going. The ceremonial pot. Each friend brings ingredients: chocolate, tomatoes, hand smoked chilies, venison. As the chili cooks, they eat. Biscuits, sausage, donuts, coffee. Friends come and go. Ingredients are added. And, snacks: chips, pretzels, beer cheese. Lunch rolls around. More friends. Sandwiches, cookies. Now, you probably think you would eat chili on Chili day. You would be wrong. You anticipate eating chili on Chili Day. You eat chili the next day during the Super Bowl. When you have more friends over.
Responsibilities: Business Development, Brand Strategy
A little known fact about the Coach is that he can’t resist a cookie. Someone will bring in a box. One person will get up to get one and the Coach thinks, “cool, I’ll have one.” The problem is that he thinks that each time someone gets up to have one. Then he has to have some chips so the salt and oil balances out the butter and sugar; and then he has to have a cup of coffee; and then a beer to balance that; and then a jog. It is a vicious cycle, but the Coach owns that cycle.
Responsibilities: Account Management, Business Development, Brand Strategy
His friend pointed down to the adolescent alligator easing out of the pipe in a dry culvert. “You wouldn’t wrestle that thing.” Filled with energy drink and testosterone, Zack took off his shirt and smiled that smile. Pinning it and holding its mouth closed was surprisingly easy. Lying there bragging, the horror of the situation sunk in. He could pin it, but he couldn’t let go. Alligators are fast. He remembered a tip from an Animal Planet show. He rolled over, feeling the sandy gravel on his back with the alligator on top of him. He cradled the animal. Just him and the alligator rocking for what seemed like hours. Two lessons here: Alligators fall asleep when on their backs. And watching TV always pays off.
Responsibilities: Identity Design, Website Design, Brand Strategy, Research, Animation, User Experience
Empathy + Honesty
We are empathetic with each other. We understand that we all publicly or privately deal with difficult things. The fact is that our work is one of the main ways we will spend our time. That time should be productive. It should mean something.
We empathize with our clients. We are asking them to do difficult things. We are asking them to do things they don’t understand. Things that are scary. And we are honest because it deepens trust and makes way for greater empathy. And, ultimately, better work.
Dissatisfaction + Improvement
Some people don’t notice the broken things in the world. The inconsistencies, the ugly things, the things that cause friction. Others notice but don’t do anything about them.
We notice. They fuel our urge for improvement. For making an organization look better. For making a phrase sound right. For making a process work smoothly. For changing an entire culture. We are the princess who feels the damn pea under all those mattresses and has to get up and do something about it.
Creativity + Decisiveness
Humans are creative. It is in our DNA. We are born into it. Many of our institutions go to considerable lengths to suppress creativity. But at Bullhorn, you will be expected to bring your full creative capacity to bear on whatever task you face. It is required.
And you must combine creativity with decisiveness. Make a choice; put it out there. Make another. And another. Iterate. Be willing to look simple. Stupid. The true enemy of creativity is indecision.