Demotivation for the Home and Office: Despair Inc

Demotivation for the Home and Office: Despair Inc

Laure Joliet
Jul 21, 2008

Here's Kristin with some demotivational spirit to brighten your day!

Seeing the Orange Beautiful prints posted recently at AT:Chicago reminded us of Austin-based company Despair, Inc.. They make lithographic prints that seem, at first glance, to be those cheesy "inspirational" posters you'd find hung up next to a row of cubicles, in a dorm room, or over the desk in a home office. You know -- the kind with a dramatic photo of a person standing on top of a mountain with a word like "SUCCESS" below it, followed by a quote. But look closely and you'll realize Despair's posters aren't at all meant to inspire or motivate: These are Demotivators.

Clockwise, from top left: Potential: Not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up.; Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.; Do it Later: The early worm is for the birds.; Pretension: The downside of being better than everyone else is that people tend to assume you're pretentious. 24x30 lithographic prints are $15.95.

An explanation of Demotivators from Despair's website:

"MOTIVATION. Psychology tells us that motivation -- true, lasting motivation -- can only come from within. Common sense tells us it can't be manufactured or productized. So how is it that a multi-billion dollar industry thrives through the sale of motivational commodities and services? Because, in our world of instant gratification, people desperately want to believe that there are simple solutions to complex problems. And when desperation has disposable income, market opportunities abound. AT DESPAIR, INC., we believe motivational products create unrealistic expectations, raising hopes only to dash them. That's why we created our soul-crushingly depressing Demotivators(R) designs, so you can skip the delusions that motivational products induce and head straight for the disappointments that follow!"

In the 90s, after not having much luck selling Demotivators at trade shows (people thought they were funny but weren't confident they could sell them in their stores), Despair's founders decided to sell their products online. Once they got their
website up and running, the company's popularity exploded as more and more people downloaded the posters and forwarded them to friends and co-workers. Today Despair continues to enjoy tremendous success, and they've expanded their product line to include T-shirts, mugs, and books.

Check out Despair's satirical goodies by visiting their website. You might even find the perfect Demotivator to hang over your desk. Or you can design your own.

- Kristin

(Photo by Veronica Hansen, licensed Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike)

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