Meet Buried Treasure, Our Biannual Zine

Ideas by Brad Ackerman, Associate Design Director

Buried Treasure came into existence as many of our best initiatives do, from a couple of staff members who wanted a fun way to connect over a shared love of creativity. Unlike our strategic, carefully-executed client work, the zine is a creative outlet where people make and share something simply for the fun of doing it. Whether a person submits a two-minute doodle or a complex 3D render, each has a home in the zine so long as the person making it had a good time along the way.

Creating the magic

We initially pitched the zine in 2021 as a cool way to showcase our personal creativity to, and with, our teammates:

Buried Treasure is a look into the hidden creativity at Hook. As a group of makers, we believe ideas can be found anywhere if you know where to look. Come along on our creative pursuit.

Each edition of Buried Treasure begins with the above statement and is built around a theme such as “Happy Place,” “Dreams,” or “Adventure is Out There.” Everyone at Hook is invited to participate, and the type of submission is flexible. An average issue of Buried Treasure can be filled with everything from illustrations, photos, and collages to things like recipes, cartoons, and scavenger hunt clues. We print the zine twice a year in black and white (a fun experience for a company that primarily works digitally) and when completed, we mail a copy to everyone at Hook.

Building momentum

While it might seem that a zine of this kind is a natural fit for a creative agency like ours, turnout was low at first and only from a few departments—a “just for fun” zine is easily pushed to the bottom of a to-do list when there’s client work to be done. And while it’s true that nearly everyone at Hook has a creative side, sometimes being surrounded by so many creative people can make sharing personal work intimidating.

To boost participation, the zine founders reached out to people individually, encouraging them to submit, well, anything. When I jokingly said, that I didn’t have time for much besides maybe drawing googly eyes on the sandwich I was eating, they said that would be great. I ended up having so much fun taking pictures of my sandwich that instead of the five minutes I had planned on using, I ended up spending…longer than I care to admit.


After five issues, Buried Treasure has become one of Hook’s most popular internal initiatives with nearly half of the company from all departments participating in each edition. In its simplest form, it is a fun book of art made by a creative group of people. However, it helps us achieve deeper goals, even if that was never its intention.

At Hook, we talk a lot about growing our creative community and the importance of exploring and taking risks in our work. Yet those things don’t happen just because an organization wants them to and believes they are important—initiatives like the zine encourage everyone at the company to participate in the creative process and the casual nature creates a space where people can more easily explore and take creative risks alongside their peers.

In an era where creative burnout is never too far away, Buried Treasure helps us remember that at the end of the day, making things should be fun whenever possible. It reminds us that we work with interesting, creative people who we get to know a little better through what they make.