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Nov23

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Defending Ding Dongs

I was sitting on the couch watching a hockey game with my sister the other night when she said she wished there was something sweet to eat. So I offered vanilla Oreos, various Fair Trade chocolates and a Ding Dong.

"You have a Ding Dong?"

"Yar. Upstairs in my purse."

My sister went on the attack. "You have a Ding Dong in your purse? No you don't. Why would anyone have a Ding Dong in their purse?"

"Because they're wonderful and delicious and a taste of the innocence of childhood. And they fit easily into a handbag." I defended the Ding Dong. And its presence in my purse.

This whole thing - the Ding Dong in my purse - started with the news that Hostess was facing financial trouble. Fear of a world with no Hostess cakes went through our office here at Rodgers Townsend. Suddenly, Twinkies and Ding Dongs and Ho Ho's were about. People were eating them like they may never taste them again in life and they needed to savor them.

I felt like jumping on a chair with a bullhorn and hollering, "If we pull together, we can save the Twinkie and have our Ding Dongs too. Who's with me?"

Sometimes foods, eaten in moderation, are a joy. Particularly when they stand for happiness itself. I remember trading Twinkies for Ding Dongs at lunch in grade school. Those treats mean happy days and playgrounds to me. And they're yummy. So, yar, sometimes I have a Ding Dong in my purse. It's just a fancy grown-up version of my Wonder Woman lunch box anyway.


Designer Youth

My parents were masters of distraction in my youth. Crazy long line at Six Flags? Holiday shopping at the height of the season? I was immune to massive crowds and long lines because we were quite busy playing the alphabet game. They seemed to have a roster of games so it always felt like something new and exciting. Recently I was stuck in traffic and I remembered my all-time favorite game. Which I sometimes still play because I'm certain I'll never break the code. My dad, who is a retired art director, came up with it.

Dad would say: "Name one thing in the world that wasn't created by Mother Nature and wasn't created by an artist or designer." When the game was new and fresh I'm sure I spewed out answers. "The toilet? That signpost? My chair?" I remember him always calmly explaining what engineer, industrial designer, graphic designer, fashion designer, typesetter, etc. had a role in creating that object. It always left me stumped. Little did I know how much that game would influence my chosen career path.

Funny, because sometimes I get accused of thinking that design can change the world. Like that's a bad thing. But when you've been taught since your youth that design has made the world, it isn't such a stretch that design can change it.

A few links that keep me inspired:
The Designer Fund that helps designers raise money to make projects that will have an impact.
It would be amazing to be a part of the team that designed hearing implants and then see this 29-year-old's reaction to hearing for the first time.
A video profile of Michael Wolff that will just give you warm, fuzzy, designery-love feelings.