Issue #1 Thomas Schrijer and Vergeten Woord

Welcome to RIP: a tribute to every great idea the world never gets to see

Someone smart once told me it’s better to have to rein in your creative ideas, than be told to spice them up. 

That same person (hello Rob) also let me write an update to WeTransfer’s privacy policy using an elaborate Game of Thrones analogy. Granted it was published the same week as the season 8 finale, but still, legal were having none of it. 

Throughout my copywriting career there’s been a whole bunch of bizarre and (frankly) brilliant concepts like this that never saw the light of day. And while I admit it’s probably for the best, it got me thinking about the unpublished gems lurking in all of our drafts folders.

And so Rest In Progress was born. 

But RIP is about more than gag reels or epic fails. I also want to dive into the fragile nature of ideas. Are we too quick to shut them down? To stop believing in them the second another person does? If a good idea is put on paper and nobody is around to hear it, did it even happen at all?

In time I’ll tell you about my own RIPs – like using Shakira to rebrand WeTransfer Pro, or the time I used a Disney song to promote a popular British lager (Mulan’s A Girl Worth Fighting For, glad you asked).

But let’s kick this thing off with Thomas Schrijer. Based in Amsterdam, he’s WeTransfer’s Design Director and, as it stands, top of my Christmas card list.


Tell me about your unpublished idea and what happened (or, better yet, didn’t happen) to it?

I skimmed through my list of side projects and ideas I’ve never got around to, and there are so many! But since you’ve got me thinking about words, this one felt like a good fit.

It’s an idea I had for a directory called vergetenwoord.nl (which means ‘forgotten word’ in Dutch), a curated selection of forgotten Dutch words.

As a result of globalisation, a lot of languages are deteriorating. And I think it’s a shame because there’s a lot of creativity being lost. Uncommon or unusual words can teach you a lot about how a language evolved. So with this directory I wanted to bring them to life again, or at least cherish them a little longer.

Sadly these sketches are as far as I got.

What is it about this idea you love or can’t let go of?

I’ve noticed a common theme with my side projects and ideas. They’re always:

1) super simple – so it’s not too hard to realise (and yet I still failed to do so!)
2) something curated or list-based – I love lists
3) to do with a topic I love

I still have a sense of regret about not actually going for it, but at least I had fun cooking it up. And I guess an idea like this never really gets old.

…Or hey, maybe there’s a copywriter and/or front-end developer reading this who can help make it happen?

Leave a comment

After working with you on a bunch of WeTransfer campaigns (aw), I think some of your best RIPs are the copy lines you use as placeholder in various designs.

Do you think there’s value in putting rough ideas into mockups instead of relying on empty elements like lorem ipsum?

For sure! Using lorem ipsum, especially as stand-in for big important copy, just doesn’t make sense to me. I consider design, or whatever it is I do, to be about putting things together in the right context. The visual part (color, type composition etc) is just one piece of the whole, and copy is equally as important.

When mocking up an idea I always picture where it will end up – who will read it, where they are and how that person might be feeling that day. I always enjoy thinking of one-liners that fit the tone I’m going after with my designs.

And yes, I’m still proud you used my ‘Hey, Big Sender’ line in an email to WeTransfer Pro users.


🛎️ BONUS ROUND 🛎️

If your creative process was an early 00s hip-hop anthem, which one would it be and why?

Shimmy Shimmy Ya - Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Same nervous energy, and I always shimmy through it.

Three favourite people to follow on Instagram?

Andreas Samuelsson, David Shrigley and the Brisk God

What TV series are you binging right now?

I binged two seasons of Succession in lockdown and I can’t wait for the next one.


And there we have it, issue #1 is out in the world, and I guess my own RIP just became a Rest in Published?

Bear with me while I get a handle on this thing and perfect the format, length and maybe even get myself a visual identity. But for now, like all great newsletters, let me sign off with some things I enjoyed this week: