I quite enjoyed Sagmeister’s presentation on happiness…where else but a design conference would you find a talk on that topic? Early in, he suggested that visualizing happiness with design is easy (photos of someone laughing or a smiley face will do it) but that creating design that provokes happiness in the viewer is something else entirely. He then shared three designs that have made him happy recently:
- Emma Gasson made a day-planner with room for 82 years, the current life expectancy of a British citizen. It looked to be about a foot thick.
- Omnivisu. Richard The and Willy Sengewald constructed a kiosk in Berlin with video cameras inside. When you look into the kiosk through the viewfinder (very much like peering into a pair of binoculars), the cameras record your eyes and beam the video to a nearby location where the images are projected onto a building which rather looks like it’s got a head. When you blink into the kiosk, the building’s head blinks also.
- Ji Lee pastes empty speech bubbles over advertisements on the streets of Manhattan, people often fill them in, and Lee returns to photograph the results.
Sagmeister wrapped up his talk with a list of things he has learned and how he’s used that list in a recent series of projects:
- “everything i do always comes back to me”
- “trying to look good limits my life”
- “everybody thinks they are right”
- “money does not make me happy”
- “thinking life will be better in the future is stupid. i have to live now”
- “complaining is silly. act or forget.”
- “having guts always works out for me”
“Complaining is silly…” is my favorite, both as advice and his implementation of the design. A few of these are in this video shot by Hillman Curtis.
 Ok, maybe at a clown conference, but still.
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