Disqus and Coastermatic make coasters for culture.

Disqus Coastermatic Core Values coasters

Coastermatic recently helped promote Disqus company culture by putting its core values on display. Below is a quick case study on how it all worked out. Want a printable version to share around your office? Download the PDF

If you're interested in coasters for your company, let us know!

Internal culture is a high priority at Disqus. As the company's Director of People Operations, it's up to Kim Rohrer to foster that culture and keep the company's core values foremost in employees' minds.

San Francisco-based Disqus, Inc. is all about enabling online communities and developing a richer communication experience. Founded in 2007, this blog comment hosting service is now not only part of more than 2.5 million websites, it is also a new way to discover and participate in conversations on its hosted platform at disqus.com. More than one billion unique visitors use Disqus every month to read about, discuss and comment on the topics that are most important to them.

Rohrer considered many ways to upkeep awareness - from company meetings to online docs to posters in the office, but none of those really resonated with employees. They were “not Disqus.”

The Challenge
“We faced a problem that many companies, large and small, come across,” she said. “How can we keep our values top of mind without using another inspirational poster or cheesy wall graphic everyone will stop seeing after a few days?” Disqus was ready to launch a new “Upvotes” program, where employees could recognize each other for exemplifying the company values - but what would they give the winners?

Rohrer realized that what Disqus needed was something physical yet functional—a new kind of swag—something to be sought after and that she could use to acknowledge employees who embody particular company values. She considered trophies but nixed the idea because they took up too much space. An idea for a small, lego-like desk ornament in the shape of an “upvote” hit a dead end due to complicated production constraints.

With no immediate solution, she had no choice but to let the problem brew a while….

The Solution
A few weeks later, Ann Mony, Disqus’ Office and Operations Manager, stepped into a local coffee shop for a cup, and found the perfect solution: Coastermatic coasters. Mony brought the idea up to Rohrer and the rest is history!

Like Disqus, Coastermatic coasters are high-quality, custom-designed, American made… and they promote conversation.

Rohrer made a quick call to Coastermatic, and soon the two teams were working together to create coaster-ready designs using Disqus colors and shapes. Samples were sent, and a couple of weeks later 250 coasters arrived.

Disqus Coastermatic core value coasters

The Results
The coasters were small in size yet big in terms of how they could be used to transmit ideas. Rohrer and Disqus got a lot more from Coastermatic than just a way to prevent coffee rings: they got a fresh values “game”, employee engagement, and a fortified company identity.

Disqus employees upvote co-workers who display a particular company value. The coasters are bestowed on employees at an “awards ceremony” during company all-hands meetings.

The company's core values messages are now very visible, every time an employee sets down their cup or visits another employee's desk. And it's created a healthy dose of competition, too, as employees seek to collect all five core values coasters.

Coastermatic replaced “cheesy” and “conventional” with a fun and colorful approach that not only helped to make Disqus' core values known and understood, but made them a live topic of conversation among Disqus employees—something posters never could do.

Does this sound fun for your company? Get in touch.

Want a printable version to share around your office? Download the PDF.

Sana Rao's special set

Sana Rao is a poet and product designer who has a tendency to focus on how technology can help us communicate in more authentic and meaningful ways. She currently works at Twitter and lives in San Francisco. Recently, I talked to her about her coasters.

Sana, these coasters look like they’re of special places, tell us more about them
They are! Each one is a reminder of a place I’ve been, special moments in my life. I’m glad I took a little bit of care in what I printed, it makes this Coastermatic set very meaningful to me.

The coaster with the ivy (above) was taken outside a study hall in Princeton, NJ. I was on a long weekend trip with friends, and no one was around at the school. There was a tree that was dropping golden flowers everywhere. It was so beautiful, it looked like a fairy tale. I even wrote a poem about it.

I took the one with bougainvillea when I was looking for an apartment in San Francisco. On this day, I’d just been to one that was awful. I’d visited so many places that weren’t right or were too expensive I was worried I’d never find a place. Then I visited this one, saw the bougainvillea - and I knew it was the one! A few moments later, I met who would be my new housemate and got the apartment that day.

This coaster is of an old fort in India that’s been converted to a hotel. It was a secret weekend trip where we spent the evening drinking tea amongst peacocks and levitating flowers.

How do you use your coasters?
I keep one next in my room, for night time tea. Then a couple are in the living room, and I have one at work. I don’t notice the coaster images all the time, but when I do they’re like a portal to that day. A physical timehop.

Thanks so much Sana!


Feeling inspired?
Make a special coaster set of your own today! 

Coastermatic in the wild

We love to see Coastermatic coasters out in the world, here's a round up of some of our recent favorites.
Tag yours with with #coastermatic, and you'll get 20% off your next set!

Cat coasters

Zestywoo immortalizes lucky_the_kiwi_kitty with this
sweet set.

Coastermatic squirrels

Liz B, Boston's squirrel girl, created a set of squirrels for all seasons.

Wine coasters

Kate Agarwal infused her love of wine into this unique set.

spirit coasters

Coastermatic donated a set for the Anzar High School Booster Club recently, and gitanaroja created this colorful set.

 Feeling inspired? Make a set today!

Oh Sh!t, I have to make it now. Stories of Becoming a Creative Entrepreneur.

Oh Sh!t, I have to make it now. Stories of Becoming a Creative Entrepreneur, is a 40 minute talk I delivered recently at TypoSF, a typography and design conference here in San Francisco.

If you, or anyone you know, is curious about creative entrepreneurship, where Coastermatic comes from, or the highs and lows of getting coasters out into the world, check it out! Let me know what you think too. 

Don't have time to watch the whole talk? Ricky Holtz wrote a fantastic blog post that hits all of the major points. 

Big thanks to the team at Typo for inviting me to speak!

x tash

April #coasterstories with Prachi Pundeer

April #coasterstories with Prachi Pundeer

#coasterstories got off to a great start with Celebrating Spring on Instagram this month!

Here’s a wrap up of some of our favorite photos. Big thanks to everyone who joined in, including @amy_lesser, and Prachi, our resident photographer.


Have some spring photos of your own? Why not make a set of coasters with them? 

Coaster Stories is monthly photo project for all of us to experiment in storytelling around a particular theme. Each month we announce a theme and accompanying Pinterest board on the blog and through the newsletter. May’s theme will be announced next week, so stay tuned!

Prachi Pundeer
Prachi hails from India and is an avid traveler who likes to tell her stories through photographs. When she’s not snapping her surroundings, she is an Experience Designer at Yahoo where she explores the future of communication tools. She lives in San Francisco.