The holidays are that special time of year in the office when rules go out the window. Maybe that means eating mince pies at your desk or getting drunk with your boss – but at Isobel ad agency it means spending months prepping for these meticulously-posed, elaborately-costumed stagings for their annual Christmas card. We had a right old chuckle browsing through seven years worth of ridiculously fantastic portraits, some so good they’ve even won the company design awards. Highlights include a mock-primary school line up and this painstaking recreation of a Dutch master panorama.
Isobel say their idea for the cards came from a desire to reflect that their agency is “about people.” In a world they profess is full of “cold, faceless e-cards,” their traditional printed cards are a source of pride.
Ideas and art direction came from Rob Fletcher, a creative partner with the company who calls this his “passion project.”
“Some agencies go paint-balling together, or quad biking, group bonding days,” says Rob. “We invite everyone to come and dress up and get into character for a day.”
Rob works with photographer Paul Thompson to design, rehearse and prepare for every shoot. Each portrait undergoes almost no manipulation or retouching – so nothing is left to chance, and preparation begins early to achieve some pretty tricky compositions.
“They’re nervous to start with,” says Rob of his colleagues, “but love it at the end and we have something which will last forever.”