Microsoft @25

InsideOut celebrates thinkers, idealists, inventors, artists and creators that have made up every division of Microsoft over the first 25 years.

Project

Waltzing with the 800-Pound Gorilla
  • Client:

    Microsoft Corporation
  • Audience:

    Employees, Recruiting, Vendors, General Public
  • Mediums:

    Printed Book, Website, Photography, Archive Interviews, HR/PR Materials

Creative Director Michael Hilliard and his team were responsible for the book’s vivid and engaging design. The design team... worked long and hard to assemble all the pieces of the book and bring [Microsoft's history] to life.

Kelli Jerome, Microsoft Project Manager
Acknowledgments from InsideOut: Microsoft, in Our Own Words

InsideOut: Microsoft – In Our Own Words, a warts-and-all perspective of the company's first quarter-century was commissioned to satisfy three needs: Commemorate the anniversary for 41,000 employees attending the annual company event; offer some of Bill's rub-off to millions wanting a bit of his success; and, create materials for recruiting, archiving and marketing.

  • The corporate personality was far less important than creating portraits of individuals who make great things happen inside the company and out in the real world. Our result: a beautiful coffee table book capturing innovation, inspiration, and imagination that embody the world’s greatest software company.

Cover and interior spreads from the international version of InsideOut

Purpose

A favorite client at Microsoft (we’d worked on Bill Gates’ book, The Road Ahead a few years before) wanted to celebrate the 25th anniversary with something more compelling than t-shirts and keychains. Together we assembled and pitched the concept of telling Microsoft's life story through the mouths of the employees.

Microsoft had never authorized a book, and those published usually fell into venomous attacks or simpering praise — neither really got to the soul of the company. We explored and divided it into themed sections representing different concepts in an intimate, personal way. Conceptually a series of magazines.

The "Venus" internet-ready device developed by Microsoft Research is driven through the streets of Beijing.

Approach

Our graphic approach was easy; but collecting stories, finding the right people to tell them individually and still have them thread together into a larger collection, that was tough. In all, 800 people were interviewed, half photographed in context to their stories, and all were edited to keep their words in the first-person. It was important to maintain an unbranded voice for the employees (and graphics, photography, and type) to ensure the authenticity of the stories.

Result

Our end product weighed-in at six pounds, 15 months and 328 pages (it would’ve kept growing but we stopped the client from adding pages on the flight to the press-check).

Three primary goals were successfully met: the book was delivered to the 45K employees (each listed in 2 point type in the end-papers), copies were printed domestically and abroad for bookstores, and we’re still seeing some of the images in Microsoft’s materials years later.

Perhaps our most lasting benefit was getting to know every facet of the company from inside-out and being able to tell stories about chasing Madagascar hissing cockroaches around a sound stage during a photoshoot...

Exposure: Personalities

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Matt Ruff, Author of Bad Monkeys and Lovecraft Country

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Admiral Herb Bridge, Philanthropist/CEO Ben Bridge Jeweler

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Jackson Schmidt, Attorney and Musician

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Lia Knight, Syndicated Radio Host

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Mo Gaffney & Shana Wride, "Women Aloud" on GreenStone Media

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"The Radio Ritas" on GreenStone Media

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Howard Lichter, Creative Director and Industrial Designer

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Ralph Ball, Industrial Designer

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Matt Shoudy, Industrial Designer and Artist

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Luca Ratazzi, Glassblower and Industrial Designer

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Toby Cohen, Industrial Designer and Artist

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Bill Gates, CEO and Chief Architect of Microsoft

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Dr. Charles Simonyi, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft

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Nathan Myhrvold, Founder of Microsoft Research

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Peter Vale, Technologist, Microsoft

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Craig Mundie, SVP for Consumer Strategy, Microsoft

Exposure: Non-profit

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Mothers Against Violence in America (MAViA) campaign

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Mothers Against Violence in America (MAViA) campaign

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Mothers Against Violence in America (MAViA) campaign

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Mothers Against Violence in America (MAViA) campaign

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Mothers Against Violence in America (MAViA) campaign

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Mothers Against Violence in America (MAViA) campaign

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Mothers Against Violence in America (MAViA) campaign

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Delta Society, Therapy Dogs with Vets Feature

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Delta Society, Therapy Dogs with Vets Feature

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Delta Society, Therapy Dogs with Vets Feature

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Delta Society, Therapy Dogs with Vets Feature

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Delta Society, Therapy Dogs with Vets Feature

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Altera, Rural Postsecondary Education Preparation

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Altera, Rural Postsecondary Education Preparation

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Altera, Rural Postsecondary Education Preparation

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Altera, Rural Postsecondary Education Preparation

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Altera, Rural Postsecondary Education Preparation

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Altera, Rural Postsecondary Education Preparation

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Altera, Rural Postsecondary Education Preparation

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National MS Society, Dinner of Champions Fundraiser

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National MS Society, Dinner of Champions Fundraiser

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National MS Society, Dinner of Champions Fundraiser

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National MS Society, Dinner of Champions Fundraiser

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National MS Society, Dinner of Champions Fundraiser

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National MS Society, Dinner of Champions Fundraiser

Exposure: UW Trademarks & Licensing

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Matt Ruff, Author of Bad Monkeys and Lovecraft Country

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