What was it like designing the print materials for President Obama's visit to Facebook last April?
We only had about a week and a half notice before he was coming. The first thing I thought was "Okay, Obama's coming and I gotta design a poster and somehow get him to sign it because when else will you ever have an opportunity to have the President sign something you designed?"
But I got sucked into doing a bunch of other stuff for the event on top of traveling and other project work, and it comes down to the night before the visit and I still hadn't designed or printed the posters. So, I go to dinner at our cafeteria and I had a few ideas but I knew they weren't good enough. I flipped open my laptop over dinner and worked on a concept, burned the film, and screen printed 50 posters.
Now it's about 10 o'clock and I'm cleaning up and I knew I wasn't going to get close to the President and I figured the only way it would get signed was if Mark [Zuckerberg] would ask him to do it. So, I snapped a photo with my phone and shot an email to him asking if he'd try and get him to sign it. I'm about to leave it on his desk and he writes back saying something like, "Yeah, it looks awesome. I'll try and get him to sign it."
As I'm stacking up the posters about to leave for the night, I realize I misspelled Barack Obama's name on the poster. I was pissed. What could I do? I went back and output new film, burned new screens, and printed an edition of 10 correct posters. Mark was able to get him to sign it and now it hangs in our offices, so that's pretty cool. The phrase "pain is temporary, film is forever" comes to mind with a project like this.
—Excerpt from Facebook's Ben Barry On How To Hack Your Job on 99U.