Joe Zeff Design

A boutique agency that blends software with storytelling, helping the world's largest companies tell stories more effectively.

Here's a story for you . . . 

 

As long as there's been Joe Zeff Design there's been a Joe Zeff Design bobblehead. Here's everything you need to know . . .

 

Background

Joe Zeff started his company in the attic of his Montclair, NJ home in August 2000, leaving behind a perfectly good job at Time magazine to become a freelance designer and illustrator. At the turn of the century, freelancers spammed art directors with glossy postcards delivered by postal carriers, showing examples of their most recent work. As usual, Joe sought a way to stand apart from the crowd.

His friend Harris had commissioned a custom bobblehead doll for his recreational hockey team, the Coastal Pirates. It was glorious — a glow-in-the-dark skull with a three-corner hat, bobbling atop a hockey player's body, Not to be outdone, Joe stole Harris' idea.

There have been three iterations of the Joe Zeff bobblehead, growing more aerodynamic each time, very much like the real Joe.

v1, circa 2000. 

Bobblehead Heroes, Springfield, OH.

A well-coiffed Joe stands atop his laptop, holding a book and two magazines in one hand and a light bulb with a golden Z filament in the other. There is a rolled up newspaper in his back pocket, completing the print trifecta. Across the red base is the original website, www.joezeff.com, currently owned by someone impersonating Joe Zeff Design.

v2, circa 2010. 

Bobbleheads.com, Alpharetta, GA.

What a difference a decade makes. The iPad replaces print as the Apple of Joe's eye, and hairstyles change. The new bobblehead is slim, much moreso than the real Joe was at that time. This was no ordinary Joe, trading his undershirt for a neat collar. Dozens filled Joe's new office, a renovated church in Montclair.

bobbles_back.jpg

v3, circa 2014. 

Bobbleheads.com, Alpharetta, GA.

Joe joined Scrollmotion, which called for a new bobblehead. The laptop remains, minus the vestigial mouse. The iPad changes hands, replacing the light bulb, and Joe picks up a snazzy new briefcase. Same skinny Joe, although this time in sync with the 50-pounds-lighter Joe. The figure stands taller, because why the hell not.

v4, 2017!

Bobbleheads.com, Alpharetta, GA.

JZD celebrated its reopening in Times Square with a limited edition bobblehead. It started as a sketch that yielded these early prototypes . . .

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After four months of development, the final bobbleheads arrived from China on April 20, 2017. Two large boxes contained a dozen ready-to-assemble bobblehead figures. What follows is the making of a bobblehead, as never shown before. Warning: If you do try this at home, know that Krazy Glue is no joke.

bobbleheadloop-1.gif

View an interactive version of this story created using Scrollmotion's new Ingage software here.


JZD bobbleheads in popular culture

Throwback bobbleheads continue to appreciate in value, treasured by collectors and colleagues alike. A gallery of images sent to Joe Zeff Design from around the world (seriously):

There are videos, too. The Joe Zeff bobblehead participated in the ALS ice water challenge, for example.  And without further ado, the Joe Zeff Rocket Car, produced by Mike at the Bergen County Harley-Davidson parts counter. Whatever you do, please do not try this at home.

Tweet this page to your heart's content, and by all means forward any other photos, videos or drawings to studio@joezeffdesign.com for inclusion here.