• gidds (unregistered)

    They should have hired an electrical engineer.

    You know, to work on their, er, A-to-D converter...


  • WXYZ (unregistered)

    This isn't really a WTF, embedded images in emails and documents are a pain and working around that with a font is quite sensible. Though a true 200 IQ play would have been to make the logo built up from the text 'Inidrug' so it worked in plain text too.

    You still see this kind of technique today, with custom web fonts for symbolic glyphs. FontAwesome's icon library is distributed exactly like this - again because requesting a custom font is a lot easier than embedding images everywhere.

  • MIKE (unregistered)


    Its a real firm, selling water pumps, boilers and HVAC systems.

  • (nodebb) in reply to WXYZ

    again because requesting a custom font is a lot easier than embedding images everywhere.

    Instead, you have to embed the custom font everywhere...

  • LCrawford (unregistered)

    I was expecting the WTF to be a Microsoft Word phrase substitution, in which the ABCD phrase was automatically replaced with the logo image. Everyone got so used to typing ABCD that they failed to notice when the substitution phrase was removed from Word.

  • IniLead (unregistered)

    My frist expectation was that their footer contained an image, not an embedded image but rather one pointing at a local server... which would have explaiend why he didn't see it when he was outside the company (and the ABCD would have simply been the image alt text)... but dingbat fonts are of course even better. J

  • Naomi (unregistered) in reply to WXYZ

    Well, they're sending "ABCD" to all their clients, and they're using it even in their Word documents. Maybe there are cases where this is an appropriate technique, but it doesn't even work here, so that makes it a WTF.

  • Anon E. Mouse (unregistered)

    I worked for a org, call it IniPartners that had three major groups, call them IniTax, IniAudit and IniConsulting. Without telling anyone, EO hired a branding company and - with great fan-fare - rolled out the custom IniFont and Panatone IniBlue. In November. You could use them as soon as they were released, but the mandatory go-live was from 1January.

    All of us consultants dutifully installed the font, updated our signatures, checked the embed box and had no problems, Heck, by January we had even forgotten there was a change.

    Except that on 2January we all received calls asking for help from our IniTax buddies. Generally, IniConsult people helped the IniTax folks with their computer problems, and the IniTax people helped us with our Tax problems (since we were consultants often working in 5 or 6 jurisdictions a year the taxes were complex).

    The IniAudit folks sniffed at us plebes - until they needed help with their Macs. But they make the Audit Seniors beg for help from their counterparts so the Partners didn't have to get their hands dirty.

    All was good until late April when the Auditors were getting sign-offs on their reports for the prior year and the client wanted changes. "No problem, I'll make them right here and give you a disk - we can print the new letter and be on our way today"

    Yup - No IniFont on the client's machine - the only one hooked up to the printer. If it was a color printer, it wasn't properly calibrated for Panatone IniBlue.

    Much Crisis

    From about 10 April the font and color were no longer mandatory...

  • Yazeran (unregistered)

    Ah the good old 'Always shoot the messenger'....

    That one never gets old.....

    I guess noone at IniDrug (ow whatever) had ever heard of 'text only' email readers on something other than windows....

  • doubtingposter (unregistered)

    that was a great punchline.

  • Sole Purpose Of Visit (unregistered)

    Nobody has yet remarked on the final ABCD in Bill's email.

    Never mind. I found it hilarious. (And indeed the real WTF -- clueless management barking up the wrong tree.)

  • WTFGuy (unregistered)

    @Sole Purpose Of Visit: Agreed. That was a masterstroke of storytelling. Even better if it really happened that way. Which it probably did.

    Said another way, ABCD is like fnord. Only the initiates can see it; to everyone else it's invisible in plain sight. It's like an inside joke except it's played on the insiders. Perhaps an "outside joke"?

  • (nodebb)

    Truly this happening was A Big Company Disaster...

  • Foxglove (unregistered) in reply to Sole Purpose Of Visit

    That was the point of the story.

  • Anonymous') OR 1=1; DROP TABLE wtf; -- (unregistered) in reply to IniLead

    Yup, that was my immediate thought upon reading this article as well. Everything old is new again: That mysterious J..

  • sizer99 (google) in reply to WXYZ

    It is a WTF, because the sane, non-sociopathic thing to do is just put the text 'IniDrug' in your signature (if you must have one) rather than a giant-ass logo that absolutely nobody except C-level wants to see. Yes, we know you're IniDrug. No, nobody but your corporate team gives a @#$% about your terrible logo.

    Embedding fonts and images in every single outgoing email is completely sociopathic.

  • Calli Arcale (unregistered) in reply to Sole Purpose Of Visit

    The ABCD in the boss's email warning them not to display ABCD on their shirts is absolutely the chef's kiss to finish off this piece.


  • Old Fart (unregistered)

    So how was it that Bill Lumbergh able to communicate in his email that 'ABCD' was no longer permitted? Shouldn't it have come out as 'IniDrug'?

  • WTFGuy (unregistered)

    @Old Fart: It would have, IF the custom font was installed on the reader's computer OR if the custom font was embedded in the email. And if the email was sent in HTML-style rather than plain text style.

    If any of those things didn't happen, the ABCD that's really the text of the underlying mail looks like "ABCD" to the reader on the reader's machine.

  • (nodebb) in reply to WTFGuy

    AND, IF Bill Lumbergh used the "IniDrug Logo" font for the body text. Instead, he probably used Arial.

  • bwldrbst (unregistered) in reply to Old Fart

    It's like when you type your password into a forum post. You see it as "hunter2" but all we see is "*******" - simple!

  • Dlareg (unregistered) in reply to bwldrbst

    Well of course when you type "" you see "". They are the same.

  • Sebastian (unregistered) in reply to WTFGuy

    As the original poster I want to say that Remy did a really good job on altering the story. It was quite some time before anyone thought of loading fonts on a website (or embed anything in a mail) and it was a very big pharmaceutical company...

  • Jörgen (unregistered)

    Make new t-shirts with the text IniDrug for an extra twist

  • (nodebb) in reply to sizer99

    I don't mind seeing logos when it's the first email from the company in a chain of emails, but it does irritate when every single message has a huge signature.

  • (nodebb)


  • Sole Purpose Of Visit (unregistered) in reply to Calli Arcale

    Not entirely relevant, but at my last company, and this was honestly a team-building exercise, I ordered T-shirts for everybody in my team. (I wasn't a team leader. It just seemed to be the right thing to do.)

    Since our social interaction at work involved a lot of looking at the latest Mandate From On High and muttering "I, for one, welcome our Insect Overlords …"

    … Well, the motto on the T-Shirts seemed obvious. I forget which insect I chose. Probably a nice friendly one, like a bumble bee. (Bumbling was, if anything, the Core Message of Quality Management at that company.)

    Sadly, all ten of them vanished in a mire of Customs Regulations whilst being shipped from the US to the UK.

    I still regret that failure more than I regret being fired by the insects.

  • Sole Purpose Of Visit (unregistered)

    And while I'm at it, the whole approach is bleeding infuriating. I call it the Ravenous Bug-Blattter Beast Of Traal approach to software quality. If you wrap a towel around your head, then the problem goes away.

    Or, to put it another way, if Quality Management is focussed only on the things they can (literally!) see, then you might as well fire the lot of them.

    I believe the technical term for this is metonymy. ("If we get the bits that show up on the dashboard right, then we can assume that everything else is equally correct!") This is bollocks.

    It's not only bollocks. It sounds like Louis XIV bollocks. If everything is perfect in Versailles, and the sun shines out of the CEO's posterior, then obviously everything underneath that posterior, however turd-shaped, is at least a golden turd.

    I'm at a loss to explain why these people deserve employment of any kind, let alone being put in a management position. Unwarranted self-belief can apparently take you a very long way.

  • ThatGuy (unregistered) in reply to WXYZ

    The WTF isn't that they created a custom font for the logo, it's that they considered it an effective way to follow the standard of requiring the logo on outgoing documents/emails/etc. You can't force the customers to have the custom font, and therefor they don't see the logo. They have effectively broken their own standards, considering their company practice for sending the logo effectively fails at doing so.

  • jgh (unregistered)

    What they should have done is design a font where the characters I n i D r u g form the logo.

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