The Legendary Holstee Manifesto Poster

  • September 27, 2012
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The Legendary Holstee Manifesto Poster

When Dave and Mike Radparvar and Fabian Pfortmullerand of eco-friendly lifestyle goods company Holstee created the Holstee manifesto, they never expected it to be their most iconic and popular product. Holstee says that their manifesto has been viewed more than 80,000,000 times in all avenues of social media and translated into 12 languages. Originally published on the “About Us” page of the Holstee website in 2009, the mission statement was picked up by two bloggers and later posted all over blogging sites Tumblr and Twitter. From there, it worked its way into other blogs and social networks. The Holstee founders believe that the positive response is due to people’s hunger for sincerity and genuine values.

In late 2011, Holstee released a video featuring cyclists saying lines from the manifesto. A cyclist and former ad salesman distributed the video through his networks, helping the spread the Holstee mission statement. Due to public demand, Holstee later turned their viral manifesto into a poster made from recycled paper, with typography by Boston designer Rachel Beresh. Pfortmüller said that they sold 11,000 posters in 2011. Besides posters and greeting cards printed with the Holstee Manifesto, the company also sells t-shirts, wallets and other lifestyle goods made from recycled plastic and materials sourced from India. In the spirit of creating goods with a conscience, ten percent of all profits go to microfinance organization Kiva.

The Message

Dave, Mike and Fabian were successful in their corporate careers, but took the big leap to explore side projects that they were passionate about. They wanted to create their own definition of success, and so distilled their ideas into the Holstee Manifesto. They also wanted the message to serve as a reminder why they quit their jobs and started the company. The manifesto contains more than a dozen powerful sentences like “Do what you love, and do it often, “Live your dream and share your passion,” and “Life is short.” A University of Michigan marketing professor says that the manifesto is similar to Nike’s motivational one-liner “Just Do It,” but the Holstee manifesto goes further by identifying the “It.” He also said that the popular posters can increase sales of other Holstee products in a market where consumer tastes are starting to shift towards meaningful items that are created responsibly. Even shoe retailer Zappos has adopted the manifesto, putting up the posters in their new office. The manifesto is in line with Zappos’ 10 Core Values created by CEO Tony Hsieh. The core values focus on positivity, happiness and delivering great service.

The New Poster

It was the customers who started asking for the manifesto to be made into a poster. When it started printing the manifesto posters, Holstee worked with just one part-time letterpress printer. It soon hired another printer to keep up with the demand. Holstee chose letterpress because it uses fewer resources (paper and ink), almost no electricity and creates little waste compared to conventional printing methods. The new Holstee manifesto poster is now printed on cotton made from leftover cotton fiber by-products. Each poster is manually printed using letterpress machines from the 1950s and earlier—machines that require people to manually work them. Although the process is slower, letterpress printing creates high quality posters that are eco-conscious. The posters come in two sizes (18 x 24 and 12 x 16) and in three colors (white, black and terra). The manifesto is also printed on greeting cards.

Share Your Passion by Hamrick

Holstee has collaborated with artist Ryan Hamrick on a limited-edition piece based on the manifesto. Hamrick interpreted the message into his own style, resulting in a “Share Your Passion” poster featuring unique cursive type. The poster is printed on recycled cotton paper using the same letterpress equipment and technique.

Check out the poster here

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