Sweet Validation

Among the many brilliant and lovely things I’ve designed since the start of this year are the support materials (posters, fliers, etc.) for four different Hewlett Packard sales promotions. Getting paid to do what I love is a reward in itself, but my small-yet-mighty ego will not shut up until I share an e-mail I received this morning.

I do wish to avoid annoying HP in any way (not to mention my own employer), so I am sharing this only with you elite and honorable souls for now. Check it out:

From: Xxxx Xxxxx
Sent: Wed 3/4/2009 9:04 AM
To: Kirk Starr; Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Subject: RE: HP Smart Servers Posters

Hi Kirk and Xxxxxxx,

Can one of you send me pdfs of the recent promo posters? HP has been really excited about how great our posters have come out and would like me to send them copies for them to show off.



Xxxx Xxxxx
Hewlett-Packard Brand Manager

I have no idea who they want to show my work off to, but since these are internal sales campaigns that are either upcoming or currently in progress, I haven’t personally obtained official permission to make the artwork fully public (yet). That said, I sincerely doubt one little peek is going to kill anyone, so here's an example from my recent work to give you an idea of what HP likes to see:


For those interested, here's how this poster came to be. I first drew up the map. Observant peeps will recognize the landmasses as being awfully similar to Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti. Next, I added nifty pirate-esque elements such as public domain woodcut clipart and cool phrases I came up with like "Data Pirates Here" and "The Peaks of Downtime". I gave the paper a wrinkled and torn feel, then placed it on a ruddy tabletop I made from several wood textures I have on stock imagery CDs. A photo I had on my hard drive of a cool-looking dagger came next, followed by a carefully placed drop shadow to help the knife match the perspective and lighting of the piece.

NOTE: The fact the blade is pointing directly at "HP Care Pack" is no accident. I'm a trained professional.

Typography and flair elements came last. For the record, not including the map, only two fonts were used in this design. Most designers have a rough time sticking to fewer than four. Boo-yah!

Read and post comments


About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
This entry was posted in Can I Say Something? and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Sweet Validation

  1. AmyH says:

    You do rock! Great job! And I mean that in every way you can intrepret it!

  2. Fun poster – and congrats on the atta boy. 🙂

  3. Xeyli says:


  4. jaypo says:

    This is awsum, kirk! You're so creative and must have great fun letting your mind wander in its Idea Museum.As for fonts, fonts are like spices (speaking of pirates). They should be used judiciously. Three fonts, IMHO, is pushing it. Four is off the wall. This looks great. *golf clap a la mariser*

  5. Jay says:

    Nice work dude.Is that the same font as Pirates of the Caribbean?(And I'd love to see how many sales guys know what a "bauble" is.)

  6. grrrace says:

    awesome! and only 2 fonts! 🙂

  7. Toe-Knee says:

    Very nice. It's cool when you can actually do something that has a real tangible result.

  8. Jenni says:

    Fantastic! Congrats 🙂

  9. Lurkertype says:

    Well-conceived and well-done! Esp. the fewer fonts. The people may be responding to that, even if they don't consciously realize it — their brains are saying "ooooh, restful, not too busy with fontishness" (that wasn't a word, but it is now, feel free to use it)Although the implications are a bit… erm… I mean, I always suspected those sales guys who are pushing the long-term warranties were bloodthirsty robbers, and here we have graphic proof.

  10. Kirk says:

    "I always suspected those sales guys who are pushing the long-term warranties were bloodthirsty robbers, and here we have graphic proof." Well, yeah, it does seem like salespeople have to be continually stroked just to get them to do their job and I sometimes wonder if SPIFs get in the way of the customer getting the proper advice from so-called tech specialists. That said, HP makes great products and their extended warranties are well worth the extra cost (which are things that can't be said about just any company).For what it's worth, the warranties we're talking about here are for server systems worth tens of thousands of dollars, so a $250 sales SPIF is a mere drop in the bucket.I could use an extra $250, of course, but we artists don't get SPIFs for designing the advertising. We're complete nobodies compared to salespeople because our sales results are nearly impossible to track.

  11. Lurkertype says:

    Yeah, it's okay in HP's case, but it reminded me of those retail bastids we've all come up against at checkouts, or car salesmen or such.The metaphor just struck me and I had to make a funny. You know how it is.smooch Deej for me! and give us a grown-up Diblet photo!

  12. Kirk says:

    Oh, I know. It really comes down to a product-by-product basis. Personal electronics are disposable; cars should already have decent warranties; giant server systems require varied levels of specialized service depending on usage. Buying an extended warranty on a cheap-ass DVD player is silly, whereas
    failing to acquire extra protection for your $13,000 server array is just asking for trouble.

  13. Lurkertype says:

    I know this all too well; Mr. LT runs the server farm for his whole company.

  14. CrowSeer says:

    Garrr! There be gold in them there posters!
    Seriously though, nice job… and well deserved praise.

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