Tools of the Trade: Chris Garvey of Turner Duckworth

By Kyle O'Brien 

Tools of the Trade is an AgencySpy feature to help highlight the many tools that help make advertising and marketing folks successful. The tools can be anything that helps you perform at your top form, from your favorite drafting table to your best software program to a lucky pen, a vintage typewriter or a pair of headphones.

Next up is Chris Garvey, executive creative director at the San Francisco office of Turner Duckworth.

Christ Garvey, ecd at Turner Duckworth, draws puns on Post-Its as a daily creative exercise.


What is the name of the one tool you use all the time at work?

Yellow Post-It pad.

Why is it your favorite?

I draw daily puns on Post-It notes. It’s a routine I follow every morning to wake up my brain and prepare it to think about creative solutions. The small format forces me to work fast and loose, which has me focus more on the idea and less on the execution (a useful restraint for a perfectionist mindset). Pens and Post-It packs are hidden all over home, work, laptop bags, gym bags, etc. We used to line up all the puns on a wall at work. I have since then tried to organize them into folders, but they still show up inside notebooks, on the back of monitors and the bottom of drawers.

How did you acquire your tool or hear about it for the first time?

I steal them from work. I’ve drawn over 5,000 puns. I’m sure that equates a significant debt I owe Turner Duckworth.

How does it help you be successful?

Once I think of one pun, I can think of at least a couple alternative ways of drawing it. After putting those to paper, I immediately think of a couple related puns. After drawing those, my mind seems to be primed where I can take on multiple creative challenges at work much more easily than if I had not done the exercise.

Does it have sentimental value?

Yeah, I think so. I’ve been drawing them for 15 years while working at Turner Duckworth. When I flip through the folders of puns, I am often reminded of a designer that suggested an idea, or a Post-It that I left on a coworker’s desk to cheer them up. Strangely, they became a social tool and have a lot of memories associated with them.

Do you think your tool could go TikTok viral?

No clue: I am not on TikTok. I think puns cause more groans than grins, but who knows?

We want to know what tools you use to make you successful. If you’d like to contribute or know someone who would want to be featured in Tools of the Trade, contact and fill out our survey.