World, meet Donna

Donna Amey
is incapable of writing a dull sentence.

Over the last two years as Glue’s sparky receptionist, every email she ever sent out brought tidings of joy and amusement to those who read them. Whether it was about Rexel staplers, the sandwich man or the bike-shed combination, she found a way to squeeze humour into it. Continue reading “World, meet Donna”


Harbouring Stationery

This is another blog about stationery and the things you can do with it other than work.

Like recreate Sydney out of 344 recycled sticky notes, 84 boxes of staples, 361 bulldog clips, 169 paperclips, 107 rubber bands and 132 coloured pencils.

As Darcy Prendergast did recently, to launch Staples’s Australian website.

It’s lovely, although the film itself is perhaps a wee bit long, and disappointing when the endline fails to match the charm of the execution.

Anyway, thanks to my brother for sending it all the way from Melbourne – wonder if they will make a Melbourne Cricket ground out of paperclips and post its?


The Comedy of Error Messages

We all make mistakes. Me (lol), I make them fairly often. But I do try and make up for them with a nicely worded apology of some sort.

Computers aren’t quite so good at this. Every so often, when you have a computerfail, you get a really nice error messages – quirky even, with a dash of self-deprecation. But mostly, they’re just aggressive, replete with angry bomb signs and intimidating, cryptic minus numbers that you’re somehow meant to understand.  When it’s the latter, it can be bloody annoying. Especially when you’re usually already a bit on the stressed side/you’ve got a deadline/it JUST WON’T PRINT For no good reason. ‘Error minus 42’ used to be my pet hate in my old job. I never did work out what it meant.

But more often than not, error messages can be really, really funny. Either because they’re downright rude, bizarrely hysterical, or just piss-poorly written.

With this in mind, our inner-geek has been diligently collecting screengrabs to share with you all. I think it’s funny to see the
spectrum – from hyper-aggressive to humble and friendly.

There are a couple of others to mention which aren’t pictured here. Like, whenever I try and make a call on my mobile at home, the first two attempts will always be rejected, and I get a message flashing up saying ‘NOT ALLOWED!!’ Not, sorry there’s a network problem, but a more of a frantic, finger-wagging reprimand that makes me feel like I’m at school and I’ve done something wrong. Another great one is, when you’re trying to fast-forward a DVD and you get the angry error message that says ‘This action is FORBIDDEN.’ Or, on a PC when you are brashly accused of breaking the law, ‘You have performed an ILLEGAL OPERATION’.

Who writes these? Have they ever heard of tone of voice? Why not employ a copywriter of some sort? Surely this point in the “user journey,” it’s a good idea for the brand to try and keep the customer on side, rather than intimidate them with guarish technospeak?


Any thoughts on this, or other examples, please feel free to share…