“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently…While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones, who do.”
–Apple commercial 1987
The Art Department at the small agency I had founded in 1984 was known as the Zoo. Cork covered walls were adorned with Farah Faucet posters, marker comps, logo development drafts, and job traffic control spreadsheets. We were required to wear a coat and tie just in case a client came to visit, but that did little to camouflage our deviant minds.
We made blowguns with rolled paper tubes and push pins and challenged every norm. “Change” was our watchword, the status quo our target. Clients visiting the agency ALWAYS came to the Zoo to stand in the doorway to gaze in awe at a bunch of irreverent, creative misfits in action. Our T-squares and drafting tables are, for the most part, now obsolete, and the way we produce our work is much different.
I touched my first computer that same year. My toolbox was filled with triangles, T-squares, rapidographs, rubylith, kneaded erasers, and wax pencils. This box of wires with a glass face sitting on my desk looked like some kind of alien. Its name was ‘Mac’, and at first, our relationship was challenging.
As I sat at a large drawing board with white masking tape and X-Acto knives, building mechanicals and creating marker comps, Mac stared silently at my every move as if in judgment. We couldn’t communicate. I had to learn to speak Mac.
Like an invasion, Macs began to proliferate throughout the company. They got bigger, and faster and smarter and soon covered my trusty drafting table. I could access everything from a single movement of my hand on the strange box. When I made a mistake, my pal Mac allowed me to simply go back, without having to start the project over. Mac and his ilk changed everything.
But through the years one thing didn’t change: the people. The creatives, the technicians, the artists, the account execs, the media buyers, the designers, the thinkers, the writers and the wordsmiths. People who can breathe life into an idea through words or create an image that touches the heart without saying a word.
So, I got to thinking – although everything changed, nothing really has. Our tools may change and evolve, but we are still in the “idea business.” The misfits who provide the creative spark that makes content connect still fit round pegs into square holes every day.