HOW DID ALL THIS START?!?
The simple truth of the matter is this: Mantis Design originated in the depths of a dingy warehouse. Gerald & Brian (aka, Mantis Design) were working for a company called Trent Graphics, a poster company selling primarily to the college market. Gerald was in college at the time learning how to convince people to buy stuff using a sense of “design”. Brian had just returned from a three year stint in the Army, where he learned to jump out of airplanes, run around, and generally get in harms way. Anyway, the monotonous daily grind had them trying anything to stay sane. One day it was how many different words they could think of to describe money – greenbacks, dead presidents, etc. The next was spent drawing silly smiley faces on the cardboard boxes Trent was shipping out, each with a spin on the phrase “Have a Nice Day” and an appropriate drawing. The latter they were reprimanded for.
Even though that day drawing the smileys at Trent was the beginning of Mantis Design, it took them two years to figure it out. Gerald had graduated from college, and moved to Denver with cohorts Jim and Brent. They were directionless, and well, let’s live in Denver! Why not? Well, Gerald’s car got totaled and Denver wasn’t the free wheeling city of lust and debauchery he’d hoped it to be, so he took his insurance money and promptly spent it all seeing a good deal of the United States, and then retreated home. Brian, in the meantime, had married Two-Scissors-Saundra, had two sons, and was slaving away in some government salt mine. Gerald returned to work at Trent Graphics. They hung out on Brian’s porch, each with a Yeungling Lager in hand, and had a conversation close to this:
“Gerald, my job sucks, we need to start something that’s fun!”, Brian said with a deranged far off stare.
“Right. We need to use our heads.”, replied Gerald pointing to his noggin.
Brian pointed out, “You went to school for advertising right?”
“Yeah.” replied Gerald nodding his head.
Then there was a long pause.
Brian broke the silence, “Remember that day back at Trent, when we were drawing those smiley faces? I think that’d make a cool poster!”
Gerald thought for a bit, and replied, “Y’know, you’re right, and God knows Trent owes us one.”
Brian’s stare went from deranged to gleeful, “We’ll be famous! What should we call ourselves?”
Gerald joined in on the stare, “Well, in college my friend Jeff Glass used to say “wow! that is really mantis” if he thought something was cool, whataya think about Mantis Graphics?”
“How about Mantis Design?”
“Cool. I’ll draw up some logos”
And so they worked on “Have a Day” as a poster, created it in black and white, had it printed, and brought it to Trent Graphics and made them give it a shot. Then the news came. “Have a Day” was in the top ten posters of Trent’s lineup! The rest is, as they say, history! If you would like to see the first, and I mean VERY first “Have a Day” to ever be touched by human hands, click on the thumbnail below.