You know those gift cards you see in the checkout lane at Target? No, you don't. You never notice them because they're small and they're gift cards. Who cares. Well I worked on one that made me care and made people notice. And I'll preface this whole deal with the fact that I know any writer worth their salt is fully capable of writing the words "love" and "proud" and sending them off to whoever to approve. But I wrote them and this is about who they were sent off to, and what for.
The recipient of those two words written by me was the beastly Aaron James Fucking Draplin. His influence on the graphic design universe is unparalleled. He’s got a design and work sensibility that makes me want to be a better writer. I drooled over his logos (the Megafaun "M" taking the lead, Richmond Fontaine's "High Country" album art being a close second) long before I felt his wrath on a conference call. Followed his trajectory well before I (me!) gave him (Him!) an art direction note. So after two weeks of sketch work, one of those gift card thingies you didn't notice but lots of people did existed. Except this one didn't have a cartoon dog named Bullseye on it. It had an LGBTQ rainbow, said "love" and "proud", and marked Target's first foray into publicly supporting the LGBTQ community. It was a big move with a small piece that ultimately paved the way for same-sex couples in their TV ads and catalogs.
I'm very very proud of this colorful rectangle that I wrote two simple words for, but Draplin put it better over speaker phone: "I know some people out here in Oregon that aren't going to be OK with me doing a project like this. But fuck them. We're not doing this for them. We're doing this for America." Amen, dude. Here it is:
Then Draplin went on a massive, years-long, sold-out speaking tour, where he felt the gift card was important enough in his career to talk about. Then in 2017 he published a book titled Pretty Much Everything and right there, in the dead center of page 216, is that colorful love card: