The collectible totem
I've been a huge fan of Hugh MacLeod since he first showed up on the web a few years ago. Hugh is a provocateur, a brilliant marketer and a nice guy. He's also a great cartoonist.
Hugh's images, combined with his insightful promiscuous licensing policy (want to use this cartoon? Sure!) propelled his blog to the top of the charts and led to a book deal.
His newest project, though, is the point of this post.
Hugh is making fine art prints of his cartoons, in very limited editions. It's basically a collectible (like Andy Warhol silkscreens or Swatch watches) but for businesses. But it's more than that, because you can hang it on the wall. By putting something up for all to see, you start conversations or remind people of the mission.
So far, it's working. I'm told that every other poster in the series has sold out its pre-sale allocation, and my guess is that while resales will be rare, they'll go up in value.
Totem poles have been around for a long time, because they work. We need a place to tell our stories, and a reminder of what to talk about. I think it's really cool to start a conversation with something that hangs on the wall. Years ago, I visited the offices of DC Comics and noticed some plaster on the wall of the conference room. That's when I noticed a hand (Superman's hand) punching through the dry wall. It changed the conversations that got held in that room. Most products (or even services) could turn into totem poles if you worked at it. I'm sort of amazed at how little this idea has been leveraged.
Hugh's latest print made me blush. He asked me for permission to do the cover of Purple Cow, a book he found inspirational. I agreed to let him take a shot, and here it is. The book exists for people to talk about it, so this is perfect. I told Hugh that my readers needed hear about it first, but Hugh's posting his take on it in a few minutes.
Every penny of my share of the project goes to roomtoread.org. My hope is that this project alone will pay for most of a school in a small village that really needs one. If you're looking for a big purple totem pole, here you go. It's up to you whether to hang it in the portrait or landscape view. Thanks Hugh!
PS I'm signing each print, and so is Hugh.