Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Klea Milah

Back to tales from my time at International BrandCorp (not their real name of course), the corporate identity/brand identity firm I worked at not long after I arrived in New York.

One of the things I liked about the company was that in our office of thirty or so, we had people from all over the world. The creative director with the Teutonic surname was from Venezuela; the naming director was Cuban; the staff photographer was an austere German; the receptionist and the office manager were Brits; there were staff designers from a number of places in Asia -- Japan, Hong Kong, Korea.

One of the production designers (the designers who manifested the designs initiated by the creative designers - this was a class distinction it took me a while to learn) was from the exotic place known as Queens. My first desk was near his, so I heard him talking on the phone all day and could only understand about every fourth word.

Although I wasn't working directly for him, I occasionally helped out with things just because I was in his general vicinity. One day, he gave me something to have messengered to a client.

"Tell them they need Klea Milah."

I thought this was a person - maybe the brand manager? I didn't know.

"Klea ... I'm sorry, who?"

"No, no. Klea Milah."

"Klea ... what?"

"Ah you stoopid? Klea Milah! KLEA MILAHHH!"

A small lightbulb went off over my head. Oh. Clear mylar.

I had an easier time understanding the Koreans.


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