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Work / Publication

Karl Toomey’s new book investigates whether large businesses have a sense of humour

Designer Karl Toomey set out to discover if large corporations had a sense of humour by telling them jokes. A new book Funny Business, written, researched and designed by Karl, documents his efforts to engage with multinational companies via live chat services and, quite simply, tell them a joke. “Everyday I’m reading more and more about the rise of bots and automation in the workplace. Pretty soon we’ll be questioning a lot more interactions we have. I hope Funny Business inspires people to find out who/what they’re talking to. It’s like a modern day Turing Test,” says Karl. “The best case scenario is that you brighten up someone’s day. The worst case scenario is that a bot thinks your jokes are crap.”

Across 72 pages, that contain a mix of terrible and amazing jokes, Karl presents his adventure through screenshots that relay his 30 experiments. Karl, formerly artistic director of It’s Nice That’s sister agency Anyways, asked our former editor Rob Alderson to provide the introduction. “When it came to designing the book I wanted to show the conversations exactly as they happened within their ‘live chat’ surroundings. For this reason I kept the layout as simple as I could. A loose description of the company on the left page (my mother’s suggestion), a screen grab of the interaction on the right page, but with the company and employee names redacted (my lawyer’s suggestion),” explains Karl. “For the cover, I continued my ’Ronseal, does exactly what it says on the tin’ approach, except in a more upbeat and eye-catching way.” 

Funny Business is available on Karl’s Website

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Karl Toomey: Funny Business

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Karl Toomey: Funny Business

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Karl Toomey: Funny Business

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Karl Toomey: Funny Business

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Karl Toomey: Funny Business