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Bill Mayer
Going Public by Accident
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Illustration for CFO Magazine an unsuspecting business caught up in the spot light. Naturally © Bill Mayer 2011

Just finished this little illustration for CFO Magazine. used to a buch of stuff for CFO but hadn't heard for them in a while. As the story explains, even though a company is private it can still have shares of stock, and therefore shareholders. If the number of shareholders rises above 500, the company has to file certain reports with the SEC, even though it may not be a true public company (i.e., traded on a stock exchange). Many CFOs may not fully realize this, or keep track of it, and therefore risk getting whacked with fines. So this article warns them and tells them how to make sure they don't cross the line.
So we need some sort of visual metaphor that gets at this idea that once your stock is in the hands of more than 500 people, you have to comply with certain reporting requirements. Therefore you need to keep an eye on your expanding stock-holding population.
It's really more of a compliance issue, in the sense that this can sneak up on you. As the story says, you may, for example,  grant stock to employees, who then may turn around and sell it or share it in some way that expands your total number of shareholders, without you realizing it.  Yes, the idea that you are suddenly and unwittingly "in the public eye" a la paparazzi might be a good way to go, fun and dramatic, the innocent CFO who thought he was anonymous is suddenly a public figure, and is unprepared for that role. I like it.
Robert's original concept was to have the building getting out of the car, caught by Paparazzi...I sent these and the next day I had a different idea.

I had another idea I thought of making the building into a business man but the editor thought it muddied the concept....but Robert did like the idea of having the building surrounded by the paparazzi...

more sketches of buildings trying to figure out the right style...

a little comp I did to try to sell the idea of the spotlight....

He liked the idea but wanted to see a more small commercial building to indicate small to medium size companies...

The two versions I comped up one of the spotlight one with the paparazzi...

I ended up doing several versions with and without the Paperazi...


And in the end they sort of compromised to simplify and have the Paparazzi at the bottom.

Roberts Lesser's brilliant page design...© Bill Mayer 2011

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