Whiteboard Animation and the Sharpie QuestionDan 06.15.2012
Whiteboard animation projects keep rolling in, and as we touched on in our earlier post, bigger and bigger companies and organizations are employing the dismembered hand, like “Thing” from The Adam’s Family, to explain complex offerings via hypnotically materializing drawings.
Bigger whiteboard clients have brought along bigger and more active legal departments, who usually peep out toward the end of the animation process. Very few if any legal questions have arisen, except in respect to the Sharpie logo…
One in-house counsel said it’s kosher to show the logo, since we’re using the marker as intended, and ultimately giving the company positive and free publicity. But another in-house counsel asked that we 86 the logo, for fear of a lawsuit. In this case, the client also thought the drawing hand should be illustrating on a dry erase board with an erase-able marker, instead of a permanent Sharpie. This brought up a new question: in what conceptual space is our dismembered hand drawing? Does Thing represent impermanence, like Buddhist sand paintings? Or does he stand for unwavering, ironclad certainties? Ultimately, we removed the logo and decided to save the philosophical debate for our weekly poetry slam.
On a different note, a whiteboard project for the Sharpie company would be pretty sweet. So if you’re listening, Sharpie, please know we treat your marker with class. We will continue to use it to draw complex illustrations in an enchanting digital whitespace, not to scribble the signatures of drunken musicians on the chests of various groupies.
Here’s an inspiring Sharpie ad: