‘Dilbert’ on display

In 1989, creator Scott Adams launched his satirical workplace comic strip, Dilbert. Its genesis can be traced to Adams’ office at the Pacific Bell Telephone Company in San Ramon, California. Today, this building is part of Bishop Ranch, a 1.8 million-square-foot campus owned by Sunset Development Company. The property houses 30,000 employees at more than 600 companies across 30 industries. In addition to its business tenants, the campus has numerous on-site amenities, several schools and a city center with dining, retail and entertainment experiences.

Thanks to a recent deal, Dilbert has come full circle and returned to its place of origin. Permissions Manager Raegan Carmona worked with Bishop Ranch to install a 60-cartoon Dilbert exhibit in a 90-foot-long passageway. This heavily trafficked area receives more than 4,500 visitors a day and is accessible to all of its tenants’ employees.

Bishop Ranch CEO Alex Mehran Jr. was looking to create a unique installation that reflected the property’s history and was aware of its tie to Adams, so he appointed staff to create something that celebrated the cartoon. The result was 20 3-by-4-foot panels, each featuring an iconic character from Dilbert with a sketch, brief description and three comic strips.

Adams approved of the exhibit, but it was AMU and the team at Bishop Ranch who made it happen. Carmona, as well as Syndication Managing Editor Clint Hooker, and Joel Friday and Scott Oswalt in Creative Services, helped select, edit and provide the copy and images.

“Raegan [Carmona] responded quickly to our requests and facilitated approval of our design work and text,” said Rob Elliott, Bishop Ranch senior vice president, architecture and design. “The licensing process was clear and easy. Needless to say, the installation would not have happened without the excellent support by Raegan and the Andrews McMeel team.”

In its first month, the Dilbert installation has received a remarkable response, Elliott said. “While most of our patrons knew and loved Dilbert, few of them knew that Scott Adams created and launched the comic here.”

Carmona said this is the first time that AMU has been approached to get permission for a project of this scope. Now that the project is complete and its success apparent, it opens up the door for other opportunities. Bishop Ranch could decide to extend the exhibit from its initial one-year run or choose to do another exhibit featuring other AMU brands. Carmona said she’d love to see more companies commission similar projects.

“We have the best properties in the world, a great team of people, a simple licensing and permissions process, and a great database to search for content,” Carmona said. “I’m thrilled with the relationship we’ve formed with Bishop Ranch and appreciative of the approach they took for this project. In our digital world where everything is on the internet, people think that content is free and they can use it how they want to, but creators deserve to be paid for their work. People who take art and alter it forget that there’s a person behind that art; it’s basically stealing someone’s work. It’s important for people to respect the artist by asking for permission and checking that there aren’t copyright issues.”

Email Carmona for a permissions request or opportunity.

Below, view the time-lapse video of Bishop Ranch and Elliott Collaborative installing the ‘Dilbert’ exhibit.