How To Blast Creative Superpowers From Your Funeral Director Fingertips

There is an ever pervasive call for directors to innovate and be creative but no support for how to deploy that tactfully. You might not actually blast anything from your funeral director fingertips by becoming our reader, but you will walk away with practical examples of creative design thinking and process that may help you develop your own practice.

The skill set and tolerance levels required to do your work are very specific. Artistic sensitivity and an established practice of design thinking are not normally among them. Most people’s creative tendencies are burned away by education, culture, time, adulting, etcetera.

One can get by with relying on the bewildering array of funeral industry products that directors are continually clobbered with. With a bit of ingenuity and adopting a design thinking practice, you can capture more opportunities to create memorable impressions that convert into referrals..

Much more on implementation later, but it can be summarized using two beloved characters from one of the most popular TV shows of all time “Happy Days”.

Think Like Fonzie, Not Potsie

Sure, Potsie was a well-intentioned, decent chap, but Fonzie got all the (ahem) funeral business.

Let’s say a family wants to honor a loved one with the theme of billiards. Potsie might:

  • Print up an applique for a coffin or urn to look like a racked pool table
  • Hastily design a casket insert poster with the decedent’s face superimposed over a pool table… about to be struck by a ricocheting pool ball
  • Suggest an “eight ball” as an urn concept to a family that believes in an afterlife without pointing out the implications of using a symbol of finality that is “the eight ball” in a celebration of life
  • Offer products that are toy-like miniaturizations for a decedent who was a grown adult
  • Make a billiards-centric comment in a eulogy to prove he was paying attention to the family

There are families who may be over the moon with Potsie’s solutions and that is totally fine. Even The Fonze might find himself in the position of offering some of these in order to please the family. Ultimately, anything goes as long as it is not illegal and paid for. Arthur Fonzarelli would still throw his hip into the jukebox to arrive at some intriguing alternatives:

  • Dusting the bridge hand of the decedent with cone chalk and display a brick of it for attendees to dust their own bridge hands as they depart the casket
  • If the decedent used a shooting glove, requesting it for dressing the deceased
  • Replacing the casket handles with cue sticks or mounting them to the sides decoratively
  • Placing a cue ball and cue chalk (and maybe the eight ball) in the decedent’s grasp
  • Offering the remaining set of pool balls for immediate family members to place in-casket prior to closure (possibly reserving the eight ball as a keepsake with something not trite laser engraved)
  • Laser engraving full bumper, pockets, racked balls, and crossed cues onto the exterior top of the casket (you’ll need a graphic designer familiar with working physical objects and a laser engraver with capacity, of course)
  • Retrofitting the casket corners and middles with billiard pockets (not realistic under normal time constraints but the kind of brainstorming that could lead to a more realistic options )
  • A custom casket that has the full look and feel of a pool table from the green felt in the interior, a rich exterior finish, faux pockets, and a rolling score-keeper permanently set to the date of death (pre-need only and expensive, but I bet you could find a craftsperson who could deliver)
  • Offer guests custom printed cue chalks with the deceased’s info (this isn’t a thing — yet — but a graphic designer could whip up new labels or stickers to cover existing printing)
  • Write a eulogy that focusses on the spirit of the game, the dedication required to acquire skill, friendly competition, and the joy of spending time with buddies

Fonzie’s done this kind of work before, so some of these ideas do just show up in his leather jacket pockets. Others are the result of research (new data), sparking connections that would otherwise not come into being.

Your constituents deserve the kind of effort that Fonzie makes look effortless. We’re certain that it would improve your bottom line.

We’ll be continuing to author hypothetical case studies of creativity like this plus:

  • Presenting our own design process through “blue-sky” urn concepts like this “Urn 4 Prince
  • Introducing you to your own possibly untapped creative potential and methods of design thinking
  • Providing brief overviews of various art/design/craft related issues that can help you incorporate the same into your own practice and/or interface more constructively with local creative types who will likely be interested in the opportunity to provide meaningful input and service

Thanks for being our reader! I do hope you’ll come back for more of our sincere efforts to improve the world around us through design thinking, artistic sensitivity, and craftsmanship. We’re ecstatic that you’ve joined us thus far.

Feel free to provide commentary or criticism at the original article posting.