What Digital Creatives Keep on Their Desks: Poop Emojis, Alien Sculptures and Axes

From inspiring to just weird stuff

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

If there's one thing agencies are known for, it's a quirky work environment that's a far cry from typical corporate offices—including some seriously creative decor. 

Adweek snooped around a handful of digital agencies to find the most interesting, entertaining and unusual things on marketers' desks that keep their creative juices flowing.

Here are our best finds:

Bob Greenberg, founder of R/GA

The alien figure on the left edge of the desk is a replica of the titular creature from 1987's Predator. Greenberg worked on the film's special effects, earning him an Academy Award nomination.

There are also two Ducati motorcycle models, which represent his preferred mode of transportation.

Hill Holliday's associate digital strategist, Ryan DunnEvery modern-day agency needs a good poop emoji, and Hill Holliday is no exception.

"The poop emoji protects the booze to warn all potential drinkers that they may get 'shitfaced,'" explained Dunn. "Also, poop jokes will never not be funny."

Diego Miguel, senior art director at Firstborn

Miguel plays up his Brazilian roots with a blow-up palm tree and a flamingo on his desk.

There are also several small sculptures—including a Buddha, a monkey and a hand. The Buddha and monkey remind him "to be of good mind, speech and action," he says.

And what's the story behind the miniature hand?

"The other day I came along this little hand on the street that looked exactly like mine, so I drew on my tattoos and kept it," Miguel explained. "It was a nice totem since hands have been my obsession for the past couple of years due to the expressive and honest output that each gesture carries over."

Rahul Sabnis, 360i's group creative director

Sometimes you've got to get a little messy to spark a great idea. So, Sabnis keeps a plate of kinetic sand—a mixture made from 95 percent sand and 5 percent polymer—in the office for people to play with.

It has a, "strange, tactile feel, like playing with wet sand that doesn't stick to you," he said. "Everyone who plays with it feels like a kid again."

Jory Edmunds, Razorfish's vp of account planning

Yep, that's an unopened piñata in the corner of Edmunds' Austin, Texas, office. According to his colleagues, he frequently drives past piñata stores on the way to the airport and became obsessed with one particular, star-shaped one. So, the team bought it for him for his birthday.

It's one of several shiny items Edmunds keeps in his office to remind him of his past and current clients. "It's a nice reminder of who's keeping the lights on," he explained.

360i's vp of strategy, Shankar Gupta-Harrison

Gupta-Harrison got this mug as a gift from the first employee who ever quit on him. The former staffer left to go on a "classic millennial jaunt to travel the world." He keeps it as a reminder of the type of boss he doesn't want to be.

"I believe in being collaborative and that being a manager means having a mutual obligation between you and your team to help them do their best work possible while being as happy as possible," he said. "It reminds me to never take myself too seriously. Bosses who take themselves too seriously wind up being a joke." 

Big Spaceship designer Jackie MucilliWhat's an ad agency without lots of dogs, right? "​The ​framed p​icture of my dog, Ruby, ​​keeps me happy, and it's proven to be a ​great conversation starter for those who visit my desk," Mucilli said. "The giant plush Pug​—named Princess Chad—​was a birthday gift from coworkers, ​an acknowledgment of ​ ​my dog-obsessive nature." ​

Chris Huban, associate creative director at Huge

Huge has a tradition called the "Best Made X Huge Axe," which awards employees with a custom-designed ax after they've spent five years with the agency.

"The axes represent our belief in making the best designed products in an industry and serve as a reminder to always be cutting away what's needed to get to the simplest, best solution for users and clients," said Huban.

Plus, "having an ax at your desk is fucking cool." We agree.

Phear Creative co-founder and chief creative officer Casey McGrath

McGrath was never in the Navy, but his grandfather and uncles were. And his father piloted aircraft carriers for years. Now, he keeps a stash of Navy hats around the office.

"I own about 100 of these," he said. "My wife even commissioned a painter to paint the USS New Jersey and gave it to me for my birthday—which also hangs in our office."

Adrian Belina, Jam3's creative director and partner

Belina bought this strange neon-painted skull shortly after the shop moved offices to downtown Toronto. It's a big conversation piece that has "practically paid for itself in compliments."

There's also a small Mountie on his desk. The agency doles those out to clients as a reminder of its Canadian culture. Next to the Mountie is a bobblehead of, yes, himself that his girlfriend gave him just for fun.

Tyler Hissey, senior digital strategist at Hill Holliday

Client Major League Baseball gave Hissey the ultimate Boston Red Sox memento—a base from the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park.

"It was completely unexpected, and it made my entire month," he said. "In addition to being just an incredible piece of memorabilia, I'll always cherish it because of what it represents."

Don Zinzell, design director at Mcgarrybowen

Zinzell says he loves moss because it "inspires as a precious, simple, beautiful symbol of nature."

This glass of dried moss is from a friend, but he typically keeps a few containers of the live stuff, which he gets from the forest at his lake house, around the office.

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.
Publish date: August 24, 2015 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/what-digital-creatives-keep-their-desks-poop-emojis-alien-sculptures-and-axes-166496/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT