'Gamechanger: A Cautionary Tale of Corporate Jargon'

Book Design

Pentagram's 2014 holiday card poking fun at corporate jargon.

We have spent a long time working together and often speak about how, like many other people who do what we do, we have developed an allergy to corporate jargon.

At Pentagram, we’ve kept an ear out for jargon and found buzzwords like “mission critical,” “ramp up,” “creativate” and “blue sky thinking” to be rife in boardrooms and businesses throughout the world.

Why does it exist? Well, maybe it’s tribal; the kind of speak spoken only by those who are paid handsomely, or think they ought to be. Or maybe it’s a time saving exercise: why say “come together to work together” when you can say “synergise” and save a “mission critical” 1.2 seconds?

Or maybe it’s there to make a regular desk-bound job sound epic and dynamic. Compared to “a meeting to have an idea,” a “brainstorm” sounds heroic, almost biblical. And who wants to be sitting at a mere desk when you could be “at the wheelhouse,” steering the ship instead?

The trouble with corporate jargon is that it turns our language into promotion. As we’re saying things, we’re also hyping the things we say and ourselves as the sayers. It’s words on steroids rather than words with simple meanings. It’s about sounding good, rather than having something good to say.

That’s why we wanted to poke some gentle fun at corporate jargon in our 2014 Holiday Card.

Featuring all the corporate jargon we could conceivably stuff into a seven verse poem, our hope is that it can remind all of us, including ourselves, to use turbocharged buzzwords a little less “going forward”, and plain old English a little bit more.

In 2015, Pentagram expanded on the Gamechanger poem, turning it into a rap video

Book Design
Naresh Ramchandani
Marina Willer
View all images
Previous Icon Previous Icon Large
'Gamechanger: A Cautionary Tale of Corporate Jargon'
Next Icon Next Icon Large