Last weekend, we decided to keep the winter blues at bay with a visit to the Happy Show at the Design Exchange. Created by celebrated graphic designer and typographer, Stefan Sagmeister (pictured below) the show is the culmination of his ten-year exploration of happiness. In it, he presents a series of constructions, icons and typographic maxims, or rules to live by, pulled from his diaries and displayed in whole bunch of inventive ways.
Sagemeister's central question is: Can you train your mind to be happy the way you train your body to be healthy? In his own study of happiness, he explored mind-altering interventions, including mediation, cognitive therapy and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. We're guessing that Sagemeister was also influenced by his album cover collaborations with artists like Brian Eno — if only for the passing reference to Eno's Oblique Strategy cards.
Sagmeister also gathered the research of Harvard psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Steven Pinker, psychologist Jonathan Haidt and anthropologist Donald Symons as well as several prominent historians to help put his own observations into a broader context. And while it might sound a bit like a class trip, the exhibition is, at the end of the day, a feel-good hit!
The displays, like the Lego and sugar cube exhortation to "Step Up To It" pictured above, are on the right side of goofy without losing their exploratory nature. The bright yellow branding and gorgeous typography will make any fan of fonts swoon. And no corner of the space is unused — including the bathrooms!
The show is on at the Design Exchange until March 3. Then it moves on to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.