The Art & Science of Creativity

Code announces second project with Mailchimp

When the legendary Decauter Book Festival became one of the many events felled by COVID-19, a host of writers and creators were left without a critical platform on their annual agenda of book tours, workshops, and spotlights. As the largest independent book festival in the US, it’s role for is particularly critical- for independent authors who lack the promotion teams and the platforms that come with publishing deals, festivals like Decauter are an essential way to spread the word about new work.

In the wake of Decauter’s cancellation, it’s sponsor Mailchimp sought to fill the void, creating virtual space that reflects the demands of our current moment- representation, connection, transparency and of course, distance.

By the Books was born.

Led by a superstar cast of author/podcaster personalities Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow — co-hosts of Call Your Girlfriend and co-authors of Big Friendship — and Ashley C. Ford, host of Fortune Favors the Bold, 112BK, and PROFILE, the festival prioritizes the elevation and celebration of diverse, groundbreaking, and underrepresented voices, furthering the work that each of these women do on their own channels.

In many ways, By the Books mirrors the challenges and intentions behind the #supporttheshorts effort that Mailchimp launched after SXSW was nixed in March. While the medium may differ (books vs short films), both efforts aim to reclaim the value and magic lost in the cancellation of these creative gatherings. So it makes sense why, after a successful campaign around SXSW, the Mailchimp team turned to partners Code and Theory and Kin to recreate the magic for book lovers.

In designing the experience, the Code looked to hold space for the exploration and magic that happens organically at an in person lit festival- every book picked up is an opportunity for magic, a journey waiting to happen. Head to the site, and readers can pull books off the shelf, scroll through spines and cover art, and learn more about authors. Head over to the watch or listen tab, and there’s a selection of films and audio to pop on while you explore.

The team at Code and Theory called upon their personal experiences to bring the venture to life. Interactive elements were inspired by their home bookshelves and the many Zoom backgrounds over the past few months; to capture the lazy summer vibe, they turned to Henri Matisse’s famous Flowers painting for inspiration.

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