Home away from home

Someone found this “diary of a holiday” and sent it to me hoping it might save others from a similar fate. “Working in design can be addictive”, said the scrawled handwritten note accompanying the photocopied extract. I feel it my duty to pass on this insight into the effects of studio fatigue.

Day 1 – Not sure how my team are going to cope, but I gave everyone my mobile number (with international code) just in case. I didn’t like the way Dave pretended to throw my notice saying “You don’t have to be creative AND strategically sound to work here – but it helps!” into the bin.

First stop; the Heathrow Express from Paddington. I was actually flying from Gatwick but I wanted to see whether BAA really had created a masterpiece. Amazing! The logo is even embossed on to the ticket. I hate the signs at Gatwick – clearly the words “user focus” have never been uttered there.

What on earth is British Airways up to, replacing those lovely global tail fins with a billowing piece of John Bullism? I’d prefer an Ethiopian pot design on the end of my plane any day.

Day 2 – Awoke in hotel with stomach ache thanks to the Monarch Airlines in-flight food. There are three different executions of the M logo on cutlery wrappers, towel and salt and pepper, and they are all appalling. I was glad to see that the hotel produced a guest welcome pack, although its use of Bodoni and Frutiger is somewhat agricultural. Mobile phone not picking up a network connection yet.

Day 3 – My upper torso is bright red. I put this down to the shelf-shout qualities of the local sun cream brand, Los Cremas dos Coconutas Numero Uno. Liked the image, typeface and positioning; didn’t realise it had a protection factor of 1. My partner keeps talking about me being a “brand victim”, which is odd considering the carefree way I treat my sand-proof Sony “Beachman” CD player and Foster Grant “Eye-ronic” sunglasses.

Day 4 – Went to local supermarket “Miki” to assess vernacular packaging styles. Bought ten bars of chocolate called “Dicko” for the studio. Annoyed with myself – I left my holiday reading matter by the pool. However, my mobile phone is now picking up the FoniFoni network if I bounce up and down on the bed.

Day 5 – Good news: my holiday book, David Carson: The End of Print was where I left it, by the pool. I think some water has splashed on it, but I’m not sure. Thought I had finally discovered a Net café in this God-awful resort, but it turned out to be a shop selling industrial-strength fishing equipment. Received the first phone call of the holiday; a salesman from FoniFoni asking me to join its users’ club, “Movers”.

Day 6 – Spent two hours attempting to purchase postcards to send to clients. Nothing available except fuzzy photos of locals in traditional folk costumes or half-naked women standing next to a smiling donkey. There’s clearly an opportunity for an art director-photographer team to transform the imagery associated with the town. The old town, in particular, has some great brand values that are just waiting to be exploited. I asked about a local photographer and found myself at the studio of Toni Snappa. I explained the concept: basically I would art direct some shots, we get them printed sharpish and split the sales 50-50. He was concerned about the availability of Tofu, the local “star” donkey, who had been ill recently.

So I gave up and bought 25 cards depicting a handsome local peasant woman watering her flowers. Stamps are another disappointment – don’t these people see D&AD Annuals?

Day 7 – Still hungover from the FoniFoni “Movers” party at the Discotheque Internationale. According to the credit card slips in my pocket, I bought seven bottles of pink champagne and a pint of Skol last night. Started getting sweaty flashbacks from the night before. Remember agreeing to take a serious young woman called Consumpta on paid work experience for six months. Also remember debating the merits of Netscape Navigator with Consumpta’s even more serious German boyfriend. My friend at FoniFoni calls to thank me for the kind offer of creating a corporate identity for “Movers”, for free.

1pm – collapsed into welcome (if somewhat lumpy) comfort of the aeroplane seat. Very relieved, until I saw Consumpta, her boyfriend and a man wearing a FoniFoni T-shirt board the plane. I quickly put a sick bag over my head – peace at last, I thought, but the words ylluferaC fO esopsiD kept flashing in my mind’s eye in badly executed Univers.

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