Dear Reader, "you don't have to be mad to work here – but it helps!"
"Were all a bit mad here! A bit weee! A bit oooh! You should hear him: he's hilarious. He should be on the TV! And me – you should hear some of the things I get up to."
"…what things? Well. You know. 'Wacky' things."
No. Just don't. Just shut the fuck up.
Dear Reader, I detest 'wacky' people almost as much as I detest amateur jugglers and people who ride unicycles in the park. I detest wear-your-pyjamas-to-work days. I detest city men in indian trousers and I spit upon fluorescent odd socks.
But, Dear Reader, as you may already have learned: I am a Hypocrite.
I regularly wear odd socks because I am lazy. I'd love to be able to juggle if only to impress small children. I've never been to Goa but I'd probably really like swanning along the beach in floaty trousers. I even once learned a couple of magic tricks.
I am also a huge fan of Terry Gilliam.
Is Terry Gilliam 'wacky'? He is known for wearing big colourful shirts and I would guess he may be prone to the occasional floaty trouser. He hasn't (as far as I know) appeared on 1980s television wearing huge red glasses hitting people over the head with an inflatable hammer. But he might have.
Terry Gilliam is not 'wacky' and I will tell you why, Dear Reader.
Terry Gilliam is a genius and therefore he gets an instant exemption. Terry Gilliam is his art and his art is certainly 'a bit mad' but it is also passionate, intelligent and thought-provoking. He has provided some of the most memorable visual moments of the late 20th century. Terry Gilliam is also very, very funny.
And just to be totally sure: Richard Feynman was not 'wacky' either. Yes, he played the bongos. Yes, he was prone to sandals and floaty trousers in his later years. But he was authentic. These were not affectations. Feynman also did years of hard work in a dark suit and thin tie to deserve the right to hang loose a bit.
Feynman was, and Gilliam is, the real deal.
So where am I going with this, I hear you ask. It's nice to have heros'n'all but what has this to do with design?
Well, Dear Reader, I am clearly not about to compare myself to Feynman and Gilliam. I do have a big ego but not quite that big. Instead I am going to move on and talk about myself.
I love Gilliam's Monty Python designs. They are fascinating, playful, poignant, creepy and very funny. They are also very, very british (despite Gilliam being an American). They are not 'wacky'. 'Wacky', for me, implies an inherent pretence. Gilliam didn't create that look for Monty Python – that look is what Gilliam already did. He is those cartoons.
Gilliam's work is not an affectation.
I am greatly influenced by Terry Gilliam, so, Payday is influenced by the work of Terry Gilliam. Not because I purposely went out to make a Pythonesque app, but merely because I can't help but make a Pythonesque app.
It's what I do, it's who I am.
Every squint piece of text (why do I love squint text?), every silly hand, every block of register that looks like it should be over someone's eyes. That's Gilliam's influence on me.
I try really hard to design with clean, modern lines and beautiful sparse typography but it always ends up looking like an affectation. The closest I usually get to this is mimicking the Designers' Republic. I've pulled it off here and there, but my natural drift is towards Gilliam, Robert Crumb, The Dead Kennedys and Loony Tunes.
Payday was supposed to evoke money rather than Monty Python, but from the moment the curtain goes up and the squint victorian text appears I know that many people will expect a giant foot to come down to a loud raspberry.