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Chimp Culture

Inspire Your Workplace with an Ambition Statement Wall

admin September 23, 2014

Lately, Chimp has been growing fast. And with so many new additions to our staff, a remodelling of Chimp’s office space was in order. The task at hand was to create a functional, yet inspiring workplace and make it look, well — more “chimp-y”.

Besides shiny new desks and comfortable orange chairs, the most eye-catching addition is Chimp’s new ambition statement wall, masterly painted by our talented designer Jen Cook.

Meet Jen!

Artist Jen CookJen has been with Chimp for a year and a half and her keen eye for detail has made our work that much better. A graduate of Emily Carr’s design program, she has worked with John Fluevog, IBI Group and infographic hub Visual.ly.

Painting a 10-foot wall was definitely a new experience for Jen — but let’s hear it from her.

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Q: Jen, how did you initially feel about your latest assignment, painting Chimp’s ambition statement wall?

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Jen: I guess a mixture of nervousness and excitement. The initial assignment was to incorporate a version of Chimp’s ambition statement (“We empower people to act on the human spirit of charity”) into the office. I pitched the idea to paint the statement on one of our main office walls and when I got the go-ahead, I just thought, “Wow! They’re really letting me do this?” [laughs]
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Q: What exactly got you excited about this particular job?

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Jen: I think it’s really exciting to be part of a new tech start-up and to be at that point where we as a company just start visualizing our brand.
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On top of that, I liked the “physical” aspect of this assignment. Being able to design a giant wall is pretty awesome. It really gave me a chance to get away from the computer and turn my design into a physical space. There’s something cathartic about that.

I also enjoyed hand-lettering the statement. To me that’s very visceral work. You have to live in the words a little bit and figure out how to show and enhance the meaning, not just decorate the words.

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Q: Speaking of words, why is "empowering the human spirit of charity" Chimp's ambition statement? What does that mean?

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Jen: We all have the impulse to help others and to do good in the world, but there's a disconnect between having that impulse and acting on it. Chimp makes it easier for people to take action for the causes they care about and to act on that charitable impulse. So, in that sense, empowering the human spirit of charity is at the core of who we are as a company.
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Q: What impact do you hope the statement wall will have?

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Jen: I think the ambition statement is a bit of a rallying cry and it’s encouraging. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that at the core of what we're about is the human spirit of caring for others - finding ways to support charities that are carrying out good work, and encouraging people to think about the role of charity in their own lives. Day-to-day tasks like answering phones and emails can sometimes make you forget that real change is happening as a result.

So, I hope that every once in awhile people look up from their work and it reminds them why they are doing what they’re doing.
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Want Your Own Branded Wall? Learn how.

Ready to add an ambition statement wall to your own office space or artist studio? Awesome! Follow these step-by-step instructions along with some nifty tips and tricks from Jen.

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What you need
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    • 1 Shot Lettering enamel in ivory
    • 1 Shot Chromaflo 6000
    • Chromatic clear flattening paste
    • Mahl Stick
    • Synthetic lettering brushes

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    • Ladder and drop cloth
    • Rags and brush cleaner
    • Plastic containers for mixing
    • Piece of cardboard or plywood
    • Beer and/or coffee, whatever’s your thing

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Time Commitment
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10 hours - sketching
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10 hours - painting
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Instructions
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STEP 1: Start Sketching

Like most creative projects, Chimp’s ambition wall started out with a blank piece of paper. Well, more like 20 sheets of blank paper Jen quickly filled with sketches:

“I did pencil and felt-tip pen sketches, scanned them and modified my drawings in Illustrator. Then I printed the modified sketches out, hand-traced my design and went through the whole process again until I was happy with the result.”

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Some of Jen’s main learnings:

  • Research other artists’ work to get inspired. but let the phrase itself dictate the look and feel of the final piece and adjust your design to fit your brand.

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Looking for inspiration? Check out some of Jen’s favourites:

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  • Some elements to consider when you’re sketching: negative space, balance, font type and weights, framing, feel (e.g. modern vs. old school, simple vs. ornate), space (visibility and placement of the wall, lighting, how people interact with the space).
  • If you’re looking for more information on lettering, this Skillshare workshop is a great place to start.
  • If you experience a creative block throughout the process, push yourself just a little bit more. It’s okay to hit a wall, but figure out what you need to get past that.
STEP 2: Buy Your Supplies

If you live in British Columbia you might have a hard time finding a local supplier. In Vancouver, for example, there are only a handful of shops that carry a limited selection of sign or mural painting materials.

Jen ordered her supplies online from 1Shot — with the exception of a Mahl Stick she made herself.

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“The Mahl Stick turned out to be really important for the project. It helped with steadying my hand and made it easier to paint small details and outlines.”

STEP 3: Hit the Wall (Don’t Hit the Wall!)

This is where the real fun starts! Get ready to tackle that wall!

  1. To start your painting session, connect your laptop to a projector and get your final drawing up on your wall.
  2. Next, trace your image with chalk.
  3. Mix one part enamel paint with one part flattening paste to tone down the gloss of your paint. Add half a part of Chromaflo to make the paint go on more smoothly. Make sure to test whether your paint is too runny or too thick on a piece of cardboard or plywood.
  4. Start painting! Fill in all letters and work on the outlines last, or finish each letter before moving on to the next. Depending on the size of your lettered statement, you might need more than one session to finish your drawing.

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Stand back to marvel at your finished ambition statement wall  — and get ready for all the high fives and fist pumps you’ll earn from your co-workers.

Want to know more about life at Chimp? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect.

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