It’s the email marketing platform Mailchimp’s 21st birthday, and Buck has been bought in to produce a “‘graduation gift of sorts,” as Maillchimp’s Christian Widlic puts it. Inspired by Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, Wherever The Road Takes Us is a book made for Mailchimp employees, designed to chart and celebrate the brand’s achievements over the years. It’s an unexpected strategy, but as internal documents go, the work offers a fun new approach.
Wherever The Road is strongly linked to Mailchimp’s existing brand style, established by Collins back in 2018, although with a few key changes. The principal illustration, produced by Lourenço Providência, employs a warm sketchiness, made to “appeal to both adults and kids alike, without going too juvenile or dry,” says Christian. The Buck team also didn’t want the design to feel too retro or frilly, which is where Lourenço comes in. “[Lourenço] has that skill (which I’m jealous of) to convey a concept with just a few strokes of a line,” Buck’s group creative director Thomas Schmid explains. Thus, the book’s illustrations “leave a lot of room on the page”, with a narrative often suggested through a few simple lines.
The story of Wherever The Road follows Freddie (Mailchimp’s mascot) and friends down a wandering road in Cavendish yellow (its brand colour) as they explore familiar and unexplored places; the visual of the roping road becomes a guiding theme across the book. While Buck knew that Freddie would play a part in the story, it took longer to design other characters that would feel authentic to the Mailchimp brand. The answer came from the “shape system” already in play “in the digital branding and social spaces within the brand,” says Thomas. Each character is based on a unique form, developed to be “without gender, so they could be inclusive, and the plurality of workers could see themselves in them”, illustrator Lourenço comments.