Visiting the Depths of Despair (Inc.)

Despair, Inc.'s Austin headquarters
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I was walking down the street in Austin, exploring downtown a little -- which feels strangely deserted no matter what time of I day I walk around it -- and spotted this colorful sign. Note the business name at the top.

Despair, Inc., is the home of beautiful posters and insidiously funny slogans, such as this one gracing the image of a sinking frigate, its bow in the air: "It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others."

I passed it again today and figured I'd stop in and see if they might be willing to sell me a mug and sign it for my wife, a big Despair, Inc., fan.

I mounted the steps to their second-floor office, opened a door, and found myself face to face with a bunch of designers working on huge displays. I explained my mission to the two guys working right inside the door, and they looked really pleased to have a fan.

I tried to make my exit after I found that they couldn't sell me anything, but they invited me in, gave me a free 2005 calendar, express dismay that their boss wasn't in the office, and confirmed that only a couple of other fans had found them.

I'll be sending them a copy of Real World Scanning and Halftones, third edition, a book for which I edited this edition and wrote chunks of previous editions. I figure they might enjoy it.