You graciously lent your trademark artwork to Mailchimp for Pride this year, which we’re so thankful for. What about this project made you feel comfortable enough to do that?
After the meeting, I had a ton of notes and I pitched a lot of different ideas. I remember this deck was just like crammed full of stuff. I remember this rainbow image, this one color rainbow that started as a tattoo on my arm. There's something so personal about it that I thought it was my little thing, and I didn’t know about giving it to a company, but I also didn’t know how it can represent so many people.
In my head, there was just me and I wanted to make sure to not do that. I didn't want to show up and be like, “No, this is all of us”. And it was through feedback and a lot of insight from different people who said “No, that's why you're here”. We wanted to get a queer artists who’re doing their work in this space already and elevate that, literally blowing it up into giant inflatables. It really felt like Mailchimp saying “Hey, we saw that little art you doodled on a post it note and like we want to put that in the world.”
But, had I not come down to Atlanta and hung out for three days. I probably would have been more hesitant and tried to find something else. It was absolutely just meeting the people and understanding that you're all cool, real humans who also work for a company – like having a job doesn't make you a robot. That connection really helped and made me feel comfortable taking something so personal to me and then blowing and making it into something that we can be proud to carry, display, and giveaway.
You collaborated with our Pride ERG, and many teams throughout the company, including employee experience, design, and marketing. What was the creative process like for you with so many stakeholders involved?
It was really just about listening to everyone. That was the most important thing. That's what design is about, and I specifically have a graphic designer background more than illustration or fine art, and design is really about identifying what’s the concept, deliverables, timeline, and budget – then crafting a brief and working from there.
I learned about what the point was from a Mailchimp marketing standpoint, about the capabilities from design, about the messages we wanted to hit from the Pride ERG. Even deciding who the audience was. Us? The Mailchimp community? Or the Atlanta community? We figured out all those pieces and that really helped.
It wasn't a traditional brief. It was more like an emotional manifesto and then that’s what carried me through to the next steps.
As a longtime Mailchimp customer, how did if feel to go from customer to collaborator, merging brands for this project?
Anytime that you're able to connect on a human level with brands or companies with services that you use, it makes it all so much more meaningful. I knew that Mailchimp was cool. I'd been to Mailchimp sponsored events before. But to have this direct connection and meet the people who literally build the product that I've been using for like seven year was really cool.
Sometimes on the internet, we forget that there's a person at both ends. Now, I think about the design team who are so cool. I think about the Pride ERG being like this diverse and passionate group. In meeting with them, the room was intergenerational, we had some folks saying things that some of the younger folks were like, “oh, we don't say that anymore.” I would listen to a podcast of that meeting.