For our 2005 card, we decided on a major change. Instead of putting the main image on the front of the card, as we had done the previous three years, we would spread the main image over both halves of the inside of the card. That would double the size of the main image, and given that Hall & Company now had twenty-three employees, the extra space would be very useful.
So, if we put the main image on the inside of the card, what would we put on the front?
This is what’s known as a teaser. We hint at what’s inside.
And below is the inside of the card, showing off the innovative stacked cubicles at Hall & Company.
Okay, not really. But each employee personalized their ‘cube’ with decorations of their choice. (Move your mouse over the picture to magnify.)
How we made it
This card began when our card designer, John Redhed, saw a clever photo montage (excerpt at right) on a magazine cover. For the Christmas issue of Better Homes & Gardens (UK Edition), twenty-five interior decoraters were photographed with their suggestions for Christmas decor.
John realized this concept would be perfect for a Hall & Company card, and when Mike Hall saw the magazine cover, he quickly agreed.
After we scheduled a day for photography, John built a sturdy four-foot plywood cube (yes, only one cube) and covered the interior with shelf paper. Each of us employees decided on how to decorate that cube when it was our turn.
The photography session, late in October, took place in a large meeting room at Hall & Company. Including the time for each person to decorate and undecorate, it took about four hours.
Compared to previous years, there was an enormous amount of work for John to do in Photoshop. He basically locked himself in his office for two weeks as he digitally trimmed around garland (“lots o’ fun,” he says), added items (racing photo, upside-down children, snow, giant wreath, etc.), adjusted colors, and fabricated the wood frame.
An additional challenge was how to integrate two Hall employees who worked in other states. We thought we might have to fly them in, but instead John sent the two women some guidelines for taking photos of themselves, with their husbands as cameramen. They e-mailed their photos to John, and it worked out fine.
In the completed composite, can you tell which two women were photographed on their living room floors, instead of in a box?
For the “teaser” image on the front of the card, John deliberately chose a boring stock photo as a contrast to previous years’ cards, hoping to build some anticipation.
We were thrilled when we saw the finished cards. But at the same time, some of us started to worry: “How will we ever top this next year?”