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.
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.