All covers are a creative challenge, but our annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon issue presented a particularly vexing problem: How to differentiate it from the 22 previous 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon covers.
This time around, I wanted to represent a 100 Best Company workforce as truly, deeply, madly in love with their workplace.
Contrary to what Garfield might say — to these people Mondays are a good day.
Here are some of my initial ideas, and the reasons why I thought they would or would not work:
Option 1: People fighting to get in the front door of their workplace. Why not? Too much trouble, perhaps: Location-scouting issues, getting people to do it — fight. Possible injuries/lawsuits.
Option 2: People racing to get to work. Why not? The message isn’t obvious, and it rains at this time of year. All the time.
Option 3: Workers group-hugging their boss. Why not? Might be odd. Too much boss love. Getting people to do it —hug.
Option 4: A tightly bunched group of workers a-whooping and a-hollering in the office like otherwise demure ladies at a Tom Jones concert — minus the flinging of underwear.
Option 4 won the day. Operating under the assumption that tech workers are a kooky, fun-loving bunch, I asked Cloudability (No. 12, Medium) if staff were up for it. They were, according to co-founder and chief customer officer J.R. Storment. So I visited Cloudability offices pre-shoot and noticed a fine collection of throw pillows.
It’s one of their “things,” apparently.
Upping the ante, I asked my tour guide (office manager Robin Freeburn) if we could shoot them madly, happily play-pillow-fighting. She agreed — but not for long. After polling the troops, Cloudability marketing director Aaron Kaffen nixed the idea. Employees were uncomfortable with the idea, he said. "Very few folks [were] willing to participate."
I suppose I overestimated the kookiness!
So we were back to the Tom Jones concert idea — but with zero flying feathers, let alone undergarments.
In the end, the shoot worked out swimmingly: The photo subjects were good sports, and the image was a perfect fit for our cover dek, taken from that Fleetwood Mac classic: Monday Morning You Look So Fine: The 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon.