Fifteen: a retrospective from Cog’s first generation

For our fifteenth anniversary, we published a self-promotional book to send to clients and potential clients.

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Publishing a book, and sending a copy to be stored at the British Library had been one of my ambitions for as long as I could remember. Cog’s 15th anniversary seemed like the perfect excuse to make that a reality.

The format seemed an obvious choice – a 100 page hardback book, 15cm x 15cm.

The content was a little trickier. We decided on sections – 15 facts (about the number 15), 15 years of Cog’s history, 15 months of work preceding the publication, 15 words to describe Cog, and 15 people (the current team plus recent team members).

Our fifteen facts included the discovery of the 15th chemical element, phosphorous, discovered by Hennig Brand whilst attempting alchemy with his own urine.

And the quote from Bernard M. Baruch that “old age if fifteen years older than I am’, illustrated through fifteen layers of wallpaper.

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The fifteen years section was demonstrated through a diary entry of each year, picking out a favourite project or focusing on a long-term client.

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Picking fifteen of our favourite projects from the past fifteen months was probably the most difficult section. We kept putting the publication date back so we could include the next project and the next one…Lewisham_spread  CMN1

We used silver-foil for the title, although that was obscured by the dustjacket which was printed on the inside, utilising the ‘show-through’ of paper.

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We hand-finished around 500 books, adding the dustjacket and putting each in a bespoke box (that we’d designed) and posting them to our clients and people who we wanted to be our clients within teh next fifteen months,

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Did it work? We think so. People tell us, a decade later that they remember the book (we even had someone call and request one in 2014). But mostly, it helped us to define who we are, to take ourselves seriously and to mark the end of one chapter and the start of another. It was the start of our second generation.

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