CD/AD Jacob Waites


LEAD Jacob Waites




Construction Papers are pocket guides on small design topics that teach designers and makers how to build things better. They're great for budding and student designers as a way to learn about small topics quickly and learn time-saving tools, but also as a good refresher for veteran designers who want to have a reference to go on. The first Construction Papers book was entitled "Merit: A Guide to Making Better Badges", and was pitted towards teaching designers how to design their own badges (pretty much any text inside of a shape). The guides were created out of Gumroad's Small Product Lab, an intensive course in which participants are challenged to strategize, make, market, and sell a digital product in 10 Days. Naturally, when I came across this project I was super stoked, but took it further in that I wanted to create a digital product in 10 Days, but also launch a full print product pre-order at the same time, to be shipped two weeks later. As a result, Construction Papers are digital (PDFs), but also have print counterparts.

What I love about this project was that it gave me a really good view on how to strategize a product launch, create quality content quickly, create marketing strategy to build an audience, and handle customer service after launch. In 10 days I created a strategy, made a brand, designed and developed a site, made a digital and print product, built a small audience, and launched the product. From start to finish, I learned how to launch a small product in a way that I wasn't used to: without a team. In the end, I got over 60 pre-orders, and sold more after the fact. To date, I've had around 80 downloads of the PDF guide, which are some really low numbers, but pretty good considering I only marketed for two of the 10 days and the product was non-existant beforehand.


As part of the product lab, I created a site from scratch in about 12 hours. I wanted to focus on a centrally divided format to make it reminiscent of a book. As such, it actually got featured on onepagelove for its design, as well as a few other design blogs. Since Gumroad launches a modal on remote sites, I figured it was an excellent way to make a static deployment for the product.