Are You Happy?  By Alex / HeadUp and David Meiklejohn

UPDATE: 18″x24″ PRINT IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE MOODGADGET STORE!

Yesterday on Typcut, I posted up my second design.  This time a collaboration with David Meiklejohn of Budget Fabulous Films, whom I met while in Ann Arbor for Forth From Its Hinges.  I originally came across a diagram David created using what looked like Microsoft Office 97, which asked the question above and illustrated a simple process for evaluating what may be the most important question one could ever want to answer.  I instantly saw the potential for my design style to make this concept pop, I wanted to give it identity and form, a playful context that also attracts the eye.

I originally envisioned the diagram in two styles– one a cartoony, animated 1950′s feel, like something out of Ren & Stimpy, the other a more serious, scientific, almost lab poster-esque aesthetic.  I ended up going with the latter when I concluded that there is really enough going on with the diagram that I don’t need to add happy and sad cartoon characters, serving only to compete with the more important message.  When I sent it to him for approval, David observantly pointed out the lack of arrows returning viewers back to the original question after going through the design’s “information flow.”  I kept the arrow(s) out of the design for two reasons– aside from the obvious visual reasons that an arrow back up the center of “step 1″ would sort of throw things off, I liked the idea that the diagram does not go in circles but rather provides an input/output sort of visual interaction.  This would look great printed in your home office or workplace, repeated exposure to the image not only reinforces the message, but it also negates the necessity for the returning arrows.  Without delving unnecessarily deeper, I will leave it at the fact that the final form of this design is not important so much as the basic concept of always being empowered with one’s work– if you aren’t happy, you always, no matter what, have the power to change something.

UPDATE: 18″x24″ PRINT IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE MOODGADGET STORE!

UPDATE (February, 2010): The first run of posters has been completed, and the store is currently not open.  There are a few posters left from the first run, some of which will be given away to lucky commenters.  Another run seems inevitable, but it will need to improve from the first round, I learned a lot…in a second run, we would be looking at larger print sizes and a lighter tube-friendly weight.  Your emails are being logged when you comment, updates will come when things come together.  In the meantime, please stick around or check back often!
UPDATE (June, 2010): As I continue to work on getting the design set for a second run, the goal being to actually have one for everyone who wants one (or more), I thank everyone for their patience and continuing support!  Please keep leaving comments, you will be emailed as soon as things are ready.  I have been getting a decent amount of inquiries regarding use of the design on peoples’ websites, or in books and publications.  Please send an email to info at h34dup dot com with specific inquiries, but as a general guideline, if the intended use is non-commercial (ie. you will not be deriving significant personal profit from its use) you can re-post the design, as long as you do not alter the design, and you give proper credit to Alex Koplin and David Meiklejohn, preferably with a link to h34dup.com.  If the intended use is commercial, or if it will be widely published or circulated, we are open to discussions.  If our design is found being used without permission, we will ask you to take it down before pursuing more stringent methods of persuasion.
UPDATE (October, 2010): I’m pleased to announce that a renewed run of Are You Happy? prints are around the corner, this time LARGER than before as well! I’m awaiting proofs, the prints will be made available for purchase soon after…I WILL CONTACT ALL EMAILS THAT HAVE LEFT COMMENTS OR OTHERWISE GOTTEN IN TOUCH, so stay tuned if you’ve left a comment, leave a comment if you want to be contacted, or just hang tight and check back for updates. I will, of course, make a new blog post when the renewed run is available for sale.
UPDATE (November, 2010): After more than a year, I have finally found a way to make prints of this design available, thanks to Moodgadget and Merchline. Please feel free to help spread the word, if you commented for an email update, check your inbox for an email soon! This is a non-limited renewed run of larger 18×24-inch prints, screenprinted, shipped and serviced by the able folks at Merchline. Please address any questions or issues regarding your order to Merchline, as I can’t do anything anymore.