Applied Illustration: Process I

Illustrations for a  Retrenchment Party

A party to celebrate employee accomplishments in light of them getting retrenched. It’s really just to lighten the mood and make sure they all pack up their desks before they leave.

View part II of my process here and the final outcome here!

User persona:

What sick person would throw a retrenchment party? Karen from HR would. The user persona for this event isn’t the attendees of the event itself, but the event planner who thinks it’s a good idea. In fact, the anti-user would be the freshly fired employee that is mandated to attend this fun party!



I thought it would be fun to play on the visuals of a “pink slip” or a notice of termination letter. I wanted to have a mix of fun, quirky illustrations and rigid corporate typography and language. This juxtaposition means to highlight the oddness of the entire party.

Artist Reference:

Because I wanted to heavily feature pink, I referenced Yue Ming Jun’s grin series. His paintings consist of bright pink men (of Yue’s likeness) with face-splitting grins standing in front of scenes referencing political unrest and violence. His intention behind the pink skin and grins are to portray a mask of actual turmoil and suffering that the figures in his paintings are going through.

I found this juxtaposition a good reference to what I was trying to achieve with the (much less tragic) Retrenchment party: where bright colours and smiles mask up the actual sadness being experienced.

Yue Minjun's Laughter - Pixelle.coWhat's behind the grin of Yue Minjun? -

Illustrated items:

  1. Invitation card
    I wanted to create an unassuming invitation card that would show the surprise of retrenchment on the inside. This card will double up as an invitation card and the actual notice of termination.
  2. Moving box I thought it would too funny to add illustrations to the box the fired employees used to clear their desks. I wanted to add something really corporate and apathetic to rub in the grief of being fired with some condescending words.
  3. MugsPlaying on the idea of “World’s Best Boss” mugs, I wanted to create mugs for the “World’s Worst Employee” or “Best Ex-employee”. Usually, a printed mug is a thoughtless gift and that seemed perfect for this terrible party.
  4. Lanyards
    As they are almost exclusive to the corporate world, lanyards seemed like a good fit. Every corporate event seems to give out lanyards for identification and as a kind of twisted souvenir. These lanyards also double up as some sort of ribbon for a medal. 

Leave a Reply