The below is the foreword to the Anniversary Issue of the Do-Be-Do-Be-Do; the brand design journal no one has ever heard of.
How pleased we are that you picked up this thing — Blow’s 10-year-anniversary celebration in wood pulp and ink — a special edition of the Do-Be-Do-Be-Do. This is it. Finally, we’ve set out on the slippery slope of marketing ourselves with only a thin veneer of artwork and discourse strapped to our butts. You’d have to surmise, the pandemic anxiety reached deep into our nostrils and sinuses — anxiety’s got a long, skinny arm — for a firm grip around our hypothalamus and is shaking it like a probiotic drink. Whatever you want to call it, this is happening and we sure would appreciate if you could at least buy our merch. After all, we just turned ten.
What a terrifying vision. Soon, we’ll be teenagers! You think a little too frivolously about it and it hits you — a little; imagine getting drop-kicked by a five-year-old out of nowhere. If we’re only getting into the partying now, looking back at the first ten years will be like staring after flashlight you tossed into a moor. Or maybe not and we’ve only just developed the business acumen that escaped us when we were starting out and insisted on getting our leather sofas tanned in Scotland for a Pantone match of our logo colours. Yes, it would have been a bright idea a decade ago, to introduce Blow to a wider audience with a mail-out design-sandwich of creative work and anecdotal insight into how we collaborate with brands all around the world. But who has the time for meat and potatoes when you’re stockpiling butter? Now, during a pandemic lock-down, of course, we didn’t want to just sit on capable, idle hands. Nor did we want to add to a hodgepodge of branded emails, hustling the COVID angst with socked adverts of our own services. No, only a time-proven format of leisure and eyebrow-raising amusement, impossible to pull off in time, commemorating these strange times in a relatable manner, would do. Let’s develop, design and print a small run newspaper and the pressure to make yet another deadline is as alive and real as the cock-eyed possum that lives down the street and looks at you with murderous intent every time the Uber drops you off after 2AM. If there ever was a time to celebrate, enjoy and take a moment to reflect, we say, it is now.
When we started this creative bureau for brands (Yes, it’s ‘bureau’. Why? Well, for starters, at least one French person works here and we be damned if we didn’t respect his heritage), we envisioned a process a lot more like riding an upside down roller coaster on fire, without pants and a laptop on our knees — a good time, not a long one. Ten years later, we’re more surprised than anyone by how we kept the tricycle on the straight and narrow. We don’t work out of van or a Bondi Beach kitchen anymore. We didn’t file the wrong tax return and changed our business to a retailer of imported chili olive oil. Instead, we just kept working, like normal people — got a small office next to a terrific strip club, ordered some 600 ticket rolls as business cards, kept a strategic Negroni-based approach to creativity, even developed a process that, albeit for a descriptive name that sounds about as rickety as an airbag made by bees, is in fact derived from theoretical quantum physics — don’t get us started on it unless you brought a blanket with you. In the end, we’re really just the kind of nerdy, needy squares that would develop a drinking habit to have a character trait to gossip about before a business meeting. Design is everybody’s business. A business following a built-in pattern across all interactions imprints loyalty. This pattern is by design. It is what makes a business a brand.
Which brings us to the brands and the good-looking, bold people behind them, we call clients. Thank you for entrusting us with your success and ideas. There is no greater compliment to our work. Especially, the good people who solicited us for creating their brand in the first place; clients which we have been working with for… well, for about ten years now. In this paper, we tried to include as fair a representation of work as the tight schedule of a winding down global outbreak of a heinous virus allows for. There is of course more, and we devised an otherwise redundant analogue code, which we encourage you to digitise in your own time for whenever curiosity tugs you along, to look into ‘more’ on our website. It works like a charm from way back when you expected a black plastic box to shriek like a plump, featherless bird, drowning in sand before you could go online.
Adjacent to some images (in the print issue), you will find a URL extension which can be added to ‘thisisblow.com/index.php?s=[your extension’] to see more design examples of a project and a whole bunch of other things that will bowl you down a rabbit hole of fun. (Was there an easier way than having to type in ’/index.php?s=‘ every time. No, there was not.) E.g. the image extension could be ‘happyhour’ then you would punch ‘thisisblow.com/index.php?s=happyhour’ into your browser. Voilà! Couldn’t be simpler.
What exactly is this newspaper? We don’t know yet. But it’s for you. With more care, some spare time and a buffed desire to leisurely work on self-promotion efforts along more pressing projects, it could be something. In lieu of long term commitment however, embrace the moment to amuse the eyes and stimulate the mind with a decennial design medley of the people’s favourites, coupled with a bohemian dissertation of the conclusions behind the artwork.
Malo Te Ofa.