Greetings. You’ve met me at a professional convention or social gathering, and we’ve exchanged business cards. If you’re thinking, “This jerk’s got one wordy business card,” allow me to explain. These here are the directions. My business card is the red-yellow-and-green thimble-sized ball of putty I handed you along with this paper. Yeah, that’s right. My business card is a ball of putty.
See, I’m a designer, and I make my living off my award-winning, mind-shaking creativity. While lesser designers settle for gilded edges, pillow embossing, and premium fonts for their visual identity, my business card is unto itself an interactive experience nearly as exciting as working with me on a contract project. Granted, it won’t slip nicely into your wallet—in fact, it’s likely to dry-rot the leather and cause your bills to stick together in a foul-smelling glob—but, as anyone who’s ever spent a rainy night under one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “roofs” can tell you, brilliant design often requires a slight sacrifice in function. So enjoy the putty for as long as you like, but eventually you’ll want to contact me about a job, and that’s when the ball truly shines:
Submerge the putty ball in water and watch it expand to 8 inches in diameter, then heat at 80 degrees until the yellow portion cleaves off. Let cool. On the surface, you should see a faint line, which, if you stretch the yellow substance horizontally, transforms into text. That’s my name and business address. Impressed? Send a postcard and let me know.
Next, cut the red putty from the green and flatten with a rubber mallet to one-sixteenth inch or until it’s about 70 percent transparent. Take the red sheet to the New York Public Library’s Reading Room and request the book The Practical Guide to Information Design by Ronnie Lipton. On page 22, you’ll find an insert. Lay the red transparent sheet over it and hold the image up to your nose, then slowly pull it away 6 inches and freeze. After 30 seconds, if you’re successfully focusing through the image, my e-mail address will appear hovering over a cheetah with a T-square clenched in its jaws. How’d you like to have the creative mind behind that at your service for only $34 an hour?
Struggling with a color scheme for a set of print ads and considering farming it out to a stodgy, overpriced firm? Don’t. Find the single seed buried within the green putty. Germinate this in a small saucer and then plant it a quarter inch deep in a field with plenty of direct sun. (A greenhouse will suffice for the winter months.) Wait six weeks. When you return to the field, you’ll be staring face to face with a sunflower. Tear off a petal and give it to your local DNA-analysis facility for genetic sequencing. When the results come in, dial the first 10 digits on your cell phone. You’re now speaking with me and unsure what’s more soothing, my effortless selection of Pantone colors for your ads or my faint Scandinavian accent.
Some say my designs are too bold, entirely impractical, insulting to the Druids, dangerously dependent on trapezoids. To them I say this: Melt the green putty over a flame and mix with strips of wet newspaper. Blend to a pulp. Stretch over a screen and book a ticket to Rotterdam. Fold the resulting paper into an origami crane during the flight and visit the Museum de Dubbelde Palmboom on a Thursday night. At the south end of the lobby, you’ll find a secret room with an instructional designer named Jürgen lounging on a stainless-steel beanbag. Offer him the crane. In return, he’ll hand you a card. It will be blank. Do you know why? I don’t have a fax machine.
Ha-ha, that last part was just a joke. Of course I have a fax, and Jürgen will whisper the number in your ear if you button his left shirt cuff three times. OK, so please do contact me about any and all job opportunities. I sunk a sizable part of my budget into stationery development last summer, and, unfortunately, since then business has really fallen off. In case you have any trouble executing the directions, I’ve arranged for an offshore call center to be available for support on Wednesdays between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Eastern time. You can reach them here:
Lasen India Limited
37, Taylors Road
Phone: +91- 44-42204000
(They’re not a design firm, so try not to hold their uninspired contact-information display against them.)
Lastly, under no circumstances should you ingest the green putty. If you’d prefer not to become trapped in a coma after accidentally consuming it, don’t panic. As quickly as possible, sprinkle rosemary—I’m pretty sure it’s rosemary—over the back of this paper and, after 40 minutes, hold the sheet up to a 300-watt halogen lamp for further instructions. If rosemary doesn’t do the trick and you’re still conscious, give saffron a shot.