Capsule 15: Artifacts, Gadgets and Gizmos

As we continue to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we are sharing 15 fun, odd and famous objects from the Capsule office that inspire us every day. 

DAY FIFTEEN: Our view 

We are spoiled by our view from our floor-to-ceiling windows and doors of downtown Minneapolis. Whether the first snow is flying in winter or the sun is shining in the summer, we are always amazed at the beauty of our quaint, bustling city and inspired to create great work for our clients.

DAY FOURTEEN: Harry Styles 

What began as a practical joke for one Capsule team member has now turned into a practical joke for the entire office. It’s now a race to see who can hide Harry in odd places around the office to scare anyone who may cross his path. We’ve heard plenty of screams coming from office corners and bursts of laughter because we know someone found Harry. We can also find him dressed in birthday and holiday garb when we have office celebrations. He seems friendly, until he appears dressed in an odd wardrobe with a Steven Tyler face crudely taped over his own.

DAY THIRTEEN: Our business cards 

Our Capsule business cards have been fodder for many conversations. They embody our philosophy of spending more on fewer artifacts to represent your brand. We help our clients spend on artifacts, communication tools that will make a lasting memory, impression, or emotional connection. Our business cards serve as a leading example of us practicing our own methods. And yes, to our repeated surprise, we get through airport security with them just fine. Well, except the time when Aaron was introduced to what TSA referred to as a “thorough search.”

DAY TWELVE: Jester in the City 

Rewinding to some of the first days of our firm, this portrait of a jester noodling about was one of the first pieces we purchased. For some reason, it seemed to embody who we were at the time. Fast-forward 15 years later, we like to think we still exude some of the quirky and clever characteristics found in this portrait. He joins us for lunch every day, stands on the lookout to downtown Minneapolis and the occasional passerby.

He rarely speaks and his personality is pure visual entertainment. But, on occasion someone speaks to him, making reference to the jester and how he reflects the odd sense of humor we have here at Capsule. We like to think his influence over our kitchen discussions has been to keep us light with humor and to be more specific, an unnatural blend of witty remarks and crude conversation paths.

He keeps us sensing our humorous side.

DAY ELEVEN: Capsule's Thinking Putty 

“Form your thoughts. Shape your ideas. Stretch your creativity.” Our thinking putty is endlessly mashed, thrown and molded into unexpected entities in our office. What first began as a few tins bouncing from desk to desk became a holiday gift for friends and clients. It’s latest rendition? An inspirational gift for friends and clients of Capsule to take to their own space and mold some creativity of their own.

DAY TEN: Our Japanese penguin

Our Japanese design influence runs deep into our culture. So, on a recent business trip to Japan, Aaron collected a series of Japanese artifacts, sweets and treats. Among them was a little friend to keep in the fridge. Originally meant to remind us to keep the fridge doors closed, he has transformed into another member of the Capsule team. Every morning we hear his, “HELLO!” spoken in garbled Japanese, when we grab our coffee creamer and we let out a quick chuckle.

DAY NINE: The MCAD truck

Art is important to everyone. And, helping to mold the minds of young designers and artists is equally, if not more, important to us. We have multiple connections to local school MCAD, including the small detail that it happens to be Brian Adducci’s Alma Mater and where he serves as board member. This large truck painting serves as a symbol of our relationship with MCAD and fosters many inspiring conversations about the future of art and design and how to pass the baton to the next generation of design thinkers.

Or take them on a country joy ride in the back of a pick-up truck until they feel wind burn and a bit woozy.

DAY EIGHT: Antlers on antlers

If you can get your hands active doing something, you’ll likely let your mind wander to unusual places. We break down barriers to think freely. Game play does as such. Often used in thought-leadership meetings and naming sessions, the antler game, a hybrid between Jenga and Barrel of Monkeys, represents game play and solving problems with unique methods and solutions.

If you haven’t had a chance to hang an antler, please ask.


DAY SEVEN: The library nook

It’s good to take a step back, remove yourself from a normal environment and let your mind wander. In our open office, sometimes a quiet place to get away and think, read, browse, ponder and perhaps even nap is to the benefit of our team. How many times has Kitty Hart taken a snooze? We’ll never know.

DAY SIX: Our windowsill 

Using your thinker and speaking out on what you believe is an essential pillar in the Capsule culture. Hence, we have a place for it in our office, the windowsill.

The first feet atop the windowsill were for a Think & Link speaking event. Many months later, this spot has come to represent a place to speak and lead inspirational conversations about almost anything design, brand, creative or research related. It is a built-in stage for our clients, friends, staff and fellow pontificators.

If you know someone you’d like to hear from on our windowsill, please forward them to us. We will welcome them with open ears.

DAY FIVE: The OZ doors 

Our big, red “OZ” doors offer a bit of healthy drama on a simple day, an entrance to a new place. For visitors, the entrance into our main conference room represents an entrance into the Capsule way of thinking, securing a place to make dramatic things happen in and around our clients’ brand, design challenges and sales efforts.


DAY FOUR: Einstein, friend and intellectual cheerleader

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the upstairs quarters of Capsule, be sure to properly give our friend and devotee, Einstein, knuckles before you return back downstairs.

Einstein was creative without all the tattoos and piercings normally associated with what it means to be creative. This figure, holding a Capsule clipboard, embodies our approach to thought experiments, big thinking and challenging the conventional. It is also tradition to give him knuckles before a big presentation for good luck.

And, someday, Einstein would like to go on one of our research road trips with us. So, look for him to show up in future places and spaces.

DAY THREE: The cove 

Also known as “the cove,” this metal-walled corner provides a creative deliberation area where many important decisions are made. These metal, magnetic walls represent a philosophy around design, creativity and our collaborative approach to work. 

Every team member has a voice at Capsule, and this spot represents the collaboration of ideas coming together to create something incredible for our clients. Plus, they’re cool to play with, add magnets in so many forms and we become a gaggle of teenagers tossing magnets to see how they stick. If the Capsule is a safe place for our clients to see brand change happening in pixels and toner, then the cove is a safe place for Capsulites to articulate stories for our clients.


DAY TWO: Our history in height 

What originated as a debate on who was taller, and why it mattered, quickly became an office-wide competition. And the markings began.

The sturdy pillar proves Aaron is not the shortest person in the office, and the volume of hair piled on the top of your head can make all the difference. It also marks our history in height. Some designers included in this have been with Capsule since we opened our doors in 1999, other team members only recently joined. It symbolizes our growth, history and culture. Perhaps as we add to it, we’ll notice some people shrinking. One thing we know for certain is that friendships between colleagues, in the heat of deadlines and design projects, often inspire the most random events.

If you’d like to measure yourself on our sturdy pillar, please ask when you’re in the office and we’ll happily give you a mark.


DAY ONE: The Nelson Bench 

We are Herman Miller enthusiasts. And we'd like to begin by sharing with you the story behind our Nelson Platform Bench by Herman Miller.  

If you visit our office, you will find beautiful and thoughtfully designed furniture placed around every corner. Included in our iconic collection of tables and chairs is the Nelson Platform Bench. Or, otherwise known around the office as the “griddle.”

To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late and to be late is to never have shown at all. Or, in the case of our weekly status meetings: to be late is to be “griddled.” Looking closely at the detail and design on the top of the bench, the precise pattern leaves a peculiar impression on the bottom of a tardy Capsulite.

And, though we’ve had quite a few laughs from these seated moments, after repeating this story to Herman Miller, Capsule was later hired to name another iconic addition to the Herman Miller legacy: the Setu chair.


About The Author

Courtney Johnson

Affectionately known around the office as C-John, CoJo or Uptown Girl, I make sure the whole world knows about the general greatness of Capsule. Armed with the Mary Tyler Moore theme song and Audrey Hepburn inspired wardrobe, I coordinate all details around building relationships and exploring new design opportunities. Sailing on Lake Calhoun and attending local concerts feed my daily musings. 


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