BLOG: DESIGN SHOP NON-FICTION
I get asked all the time where I came up with the name for our shop. And like most things, the story is a little bit like the creative process — half deep, thoughtful consideration, half “why the hell not?” But there is a story there, and it starts a little over two decades ago.
In 1994, I was a baby-faced high school sophomore who was, admittedly, a little bit sheltered. My parents were happily married, I’d grown up with the same friends I’d had since Kindergarten, and I was the proud owner of a fairly impressive Lego collection. But despite my medium-town upbringing, I was starting to recognize that there was, indeed, life outside of my little bubble — and one thing in particular captured my attention.
Just about everybody knows the movie "Pulp Fiction," and most can agree that it’s a modern masterpiece. Thousands upon thousands of words have been written about the film, most of them by critics who are probably smarter than I am. So don’t worry — this isn’t just a fan wank piece. Because, while I love the film, I’ve always been even more fascinated by its name.
Clearly, it stems from the seedy comics and lowbrow literature of the early 20th century. But can you think of another movie whose title gives no allusion to the characters, plot or setting of the film? "Top Gun." "Groundhog Day." "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." They all give you some inkling of what you’re about to see. "Pulp Fiction"? Uhhhhh, not so much.
And the crazy part is that the movie reflects the title. Go ahead — try to explain the plot of "Pulp Fiction" to someone who hasn’t seen it. It’s hard! And like the name, it usually comes out as emotion rather than plot points and character analysis. “It’s a crazy-cool, super-gritty movie about … some people” is how it usually seems to come out.
When "Pulp Fiction" was released, it seemed that every interviewer who sat down with Quentin Tarantino had to ask him what was behind the film’s name. And in one I saw on "Entertainment Tonight" or one of those other trashy shows that wasn’t hosted by Ryan Seacrest yet, Tarantino’s answer forever rewired my brain: “The name doesn’t really mean anything,” he explained, “but it should sure as shit make you feel something.”
While I had no way to apply this newfound perspective in 10th grade at Maize High School, it became a beacon of light that sent me down the path to where we are today. And in 2009, when my growing business needed a name, I knew it had to be something that would make people feel something, too. Something that reflected our attitude and approach without being too descriptive. Something with Swagger. And since “Design Shop Non-Fiction” sounded pretty terrible, I settled on something that I loved and that has been the cause of bar fights, mob wars and countless conceptions. The fuel for good times that you can’t quite remember but could never forget. And the best damn thing you can find to go with a Royale With Cheese.
So today, Whiskey isn’t just something we drink; it’s something we live. Because the humble spirit loved by many perfectly sums up all that we do, without really telling you anything at all. It is, in our humble opinion, perfect. At least for us.