Illustration by Tala Safié.

In a developing story, it has come to our attention that a client is hoping their designer’s work could be “more Nike-y but also original,” a source has told Eye on Design.

In a complete 180 from the initial brief from the client, a cruise ship provider with a range of exciting new winter vacation packages for the 65+ demographic, the designer’s very considered graphics were disregarded by the client’s new brand director, who made it his business to critique the work without having been present for any previous creative reviews. Eye-witness reports confirm that this disregard was also “blatant.”

According to trusted insiders, the brand director assured the entire design team that the graphics would really draw the eye if they were accompanied by a punchy one-liner, “Something a bit like ‘Just Do It,’ but not. You know?” Taking the polite round of nods as positive feedback, he encouraged the designers to take inspiration directly from the product itself—the cruise ships—writing down the words “big” and “epic” for them. He also advocated for the use of moodboards.

His fount of ideas didn’t stop there. “I’m thinking black and white with a pop of color. Think about fonts like Trade Gothic, or… Trade Gothic. Google some recent Nike posters. Also Google some vintage Nike posters. Actually don’t worry, I’ll send you a link.”

In reply to literally no one asking, he later chimed in, “As a side note, we shouldn’t be afraid to stand for something and have an opinion on stuff. Just nothing political, obviously.”

Other advice to the designers included: “Just have fun with it,” and “Have you seen these old Nike designs? But remember, don’t just take inspiration from Nike. There are some other great shoe brands out there, too.” A follow-up email included raw links to Google Image searches for “Nike” and what we can only surmise is a word cloud of other things the brand director likes, many of which involved little to no graphic design. This list included but was not limited to: “Dunks,” “fashion sweats,” and “that stripper who is a now a famous lady rapper.”

When pressed on why he thought the Silver Surfers cruise package was in any way relevant to the number one sports brand in the world for under-30s, the client is reported to have trailed off after muttering something incoherent about boldness and adventure. “All I’m saying is, if it works for them, why wouldn’t it work for us?”

A Nike designer who asked to remain anonymous said, “When people copy us, it just makes everything look like a Nike ad. That’s free advertising for us, so thanks. Even this article you’re writing is basically a Nike ad, right?”

Editor’s note: This article is not a Nike ad, and is in no way affiliated with Nike.