Art + Design

From the Design Desk: Who Says Designers Don’t Have a Sense of Humor?


Laura Berger‘s chubby monsters, smiling sloths, and hookah-smoking little girls caught my eye at San Francisco’s Renegade Craft Fair. When she sent us her portfolio and I saw a print of one of her tubby creatures saying, “Drop your pants,” I was sold. This artist is funny. So I went to her show at Candystore Collective in search of more mischief–or at least a chuckle or two–and I will probably continue to follow her work.

They say food is the way to a man’s heart, but humor is the way to mine. Sure, designers are visual people, but that doesn’t mean we only care about eye candy. Yes, Bambi and tiny sparrows can strike a chord–as can the typefaces of Hoefler & Frere-Jones–but humor stays memorable even after the neon ink has dried.

Also, when it comes to “making the world a better place,” getting people to laugh with a good story is far more effective than simply commandeering a smile out of them. Take Cardon Copy‘s street flier project. They took it upon themselves to redesign self-distributed fliers and repaste them around the neighborhood. The result is visually attractive, intriguing, and…funny!

Our friends at MacFadden & Thorpe also took on this challenge and did their part to “help bring Taco home.” I can’t imagine anyone not noticing their redesigned flier and keeping an eye out for the little fellow.

Not everyone has the same sense of humor, of course, but there is something out there for every taste, whether in the cruel sensibility of Someecards or the absurd poetics of Furverts.

I’m glad the potty humor of Farts and What’s Your Poo Telling You seems to be here to stay. And I’d be happy to design pet humor books like Stuff on My Mutt or Wet Cats and help with lost puppy fliers. The need for humor–especially during hard times (even for strict, grid-conforming designers)–is like that old Onion headline: Rhino, Tickbird Stuck In Dead-End Symbiotic Relationship. Huh, or something like that.

Suzanne LaGasa

P.S. I guess if The Onion was a rhino, I would be happy to be a tickbird.

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