Inside our University Communication office we have a very special group. If you are drawn to interesting/nerdy/humorous dudes, you would love our graphic design department. They produce outstanding work while letting their bizarre personalities shine through. The reputation they hold around campus is one of craziness and creativity. I get to eat lunch with them every day.
Our graphics department holds a not-so-typical Christmas party each year. The story is long but to sum it all up, the graphics guys created their own holiday gathering because their twisted sense of humor and tendency to draw a little too much attention to themselves at other parties demanded they hold their own. Every year now, the graphics department hosts Festivus.
Inspired by Seinfeld, Festivus is a parody of Christmas. Our graphics folks use the term to create a party that is laid back, fun, and original. The past few years a different type of main event or exchange has highlighted the gathering. For Festivus 2014, the party centered on a bad t-shirt exchange. Attendees had to either create or purchase a bad t-shirt and sacrifice it up to the exchange. With the shirts concealed in gift bags, wrapping paper, and campus envelopes, numbers were drawn to determine the picking order. From there, one-by-one, participants went up and grabbed a t-shirt from the Coastal Ale House table. Drawing roars of laughter as each person opened up a package to reveal a hilarious shirt, he/she then had to put it on and wear it for the rest of the night!
By no means is Festivus exclusive to just the CCU graphic design artists. They make sure to invite anyone else who wants to forget about their reservations for a night and “nerd out like a designer.” I definitely had the evening circled on my calendar! Below is the shirt I designed for Festivus. I countered the good-natured ribbing I receive from the graphics department head honcho, Rob Wyeth, with a playful shot at his profession (he is pictured on the back). Although he told me that this means war, and even though the shirt is the exact opposite of what I truly think, everyone in attendance got a great laugh out of it.
Below is the shirt that I received in the exchange. Created by Ron Walker, one of the designers in the graphics department, you can put the following equation together: Walter White + Donkey + Text = Bad Ass to the Core.
This is the t-shirt that Ron Walker received. Designed by our graphics intern, Daniel “Scoops” Mableton, he created a Mr. Rogers shirt with the phrase “It’s All Good in the Hood.” Look closely and you will see some “enhancements” to the face of Mr. Rogers.
Sidney attended the party with me and got to experience the weirdness of Festivus. She had the privilege of drawing a souvenir t-shirt from a roadside attraction called South of the Border. Regarded as the biggest tourist trap destination in the state of South Carolina, the attraction’s t-shirts are just as tacky as South of the Border itself.
I want to include Director of Creative Services Rob Wyeth himself, the biggest jokester in the department and the biggest promoter of Festivus. He picked an ice cream shirt.
Finally, our Sustainability Coordinator Jennifer Sellers ended up with this t-shirt that showed it was perfectly okay to simply take a sharpie marker and go to town.
I think we had 18 shirts in the exchange. The reason why I am not showing more of them is because, well….some were a little inappropriate. But let me tell you what, last night was a ton of fun. Even with the weirdos in the graphics department (partly kidding of course) it was a nice evening of conversation, laughter, and holiday cheer. What a unique event I had the privilege of attending! Don’t Blink.