Palm W-Informer

Client: IDG.net / Contract: In-house

International Data Group has a thing about naming its publications something-World. All the well-known World magazines are IDG properties: PCWorld, Computerworld, NetworkWorld, InfoWorld, MacWorld. If some bizarro version of IDG exists in Lynchverse, FleshWorld is no doubt a part of the IDG family.

But sometimes, the world is not enough. Operating under the assumption that most IT people don't have time for artfully named sites, the powers-that-be decreed that -Informer was the thing. When IDG.net started to pitch niche-content sites (referred to as microsites) to every single company they could think of, whatevah-Informer becamethe refrain of my life.
While the whole microsite craze meant I could do more design and coding, it also meant that I was expected to produce original site designs on demand in matter of days, then hours. To be fair, I don't think many of the marketing people who would casually ask me to "have something ready" for their pitch tomorrow really understood what kind of labour this entailed. After all, they were home and in bed long before I shut down my machine. I got to know the cleaning staff and the thrill of running for the last train of the night and learned to hoard food as everything in SOMA closes at 5.

If I had to pick one proposal project that exemplified this madness, it would be the mockups for "Wireless Informer", a microsite proposal for Palm, Inc. Having been told around 3pm that a mockup would be needed, I pulled an all-nighter getting "Hamsa" done after finishing up my other work. Two days later, there was good news: the meeting had gone very well, Palm was enthusiastic, but wanted a new proposal that was fun and playful for the youth market. The marketing people made a date for the very next day, and could I do another mockup? Something that didn't look quite so slapped together in a matter of hours would be nice. Maybe do a color variant, because it was so fun to pass around.

Another all-nighter later, I gave them Parma in orange and blue. I was very happy with it, frankly, because I like rocket ships. According to marketers, that meeting went even better than the last one.

You can guess what happened a few days later. I don't know if it's a side effect of all that artificial enthusiasm or a congenital defect, but marketing people can be very obtuse when they're being blown off. Palm wasn't commiting -- I'm guessing they were barely returning e-mails. After all, a company like Palm didn't become what it is by putting lackluster marketing-disguised-as-service at the top of their list. But on this end of the non-deal, it was clear that another mockup would be just the thing to get Palm excited again.

After the cleaning crew came and went, I found myself completely blank. I was tired, very hungry, and was going cross-eyed. I couldn't come up with another decent design for Wireless Informer because I knew it was pointless. Without really thinking about it, I put together a Franken-sketch of a site that was both ludicrous and horrific. The following afternoon, I asked the head of the unit to make sure the marketing people gave me a certain number of days to put together material. It still took a while before they learned to give up on pressuring me for overnight express service, but it did happen.

Original design proposal
  1. "Hamsa"
  1. "Parma"
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