Tools of the Trade: Chris Garvey chats Post-Its and puns with AdWeek

What is the name of the one tool you use all the time at work?

Yellow Post-It pad.


Why is it your favorite?

I draw daily puns on Post-It notes. It’s a routine I follow every morning to wake up my brain and prepare it to think about creative solutions. The small format forces me to work fast and loose, which has me focus more on the idea and less on the execution (a useful restraint for a perfectionist mindset). Pens and Post-It packs are hidden all over home, work, laptop bags, gym bags, etc. We used to line up all the puns on a wall at work. I have since then tried to organize them into folders, but they still show up inside notebooks, on the back of monitors and the bottom of drawers.


How did you acquire your tool or hear about it for the first time?

I steal them from work. I’ve drawn over 5,000 puns. I’m sure that equates a significant debt I owe Turner Duckworth.

I think puns cause more groans than grins, but who knows?

How does it help you be successful?

Once I think of one pun, I can think of at least a couple alternative ways of drawing it. After putting those to paper, I immediately think of a couple related puns. After drawing those, my mind seems to be primed where I can take on multiple creative challenges at work much more easily than if I had not done the exercise.


Does it have sentimental value?

Yeah, I think so. I’ve been drawing them for 15 years while working at Turner Duckworth. When I flip through the folders of puns, I am often reminded of a designer that suggested an idea, or a Post-It that I left on a coworker’s desk to cheer them up. Strangely, they became a social tool and have a lot of memories associated with them.


Do you think your tool could go TikTok viral?

No clue: I am not on TikTok. I think puns cause more groans than grins, but who knows?


Tools of the Trade
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