Designing a Decade of Art & Community
In 2002, artist and Firebelly friend Matthew Hoffman printed and gave away 100 small, silver stickers with rounded corners and a simple message: You are beautiful. First spotted all over Chicago, soon enough, they spread to the coasts, across oceans and eventually, to every continent—even Antarctica.
As the message became a movement, the medium evolved. You Are Beautiful has served as the centerpiece for massive murals and public installations. Artists have created their own YAB pieces; galleries curated Beautiful exhibitions.
After 10 years, Matthew remained anonymous, even while people all over the world had taken and tagged over 100,000 #YouAreBeautiful photos. It was time to put it all together to celebrate the message and the community it inspired.
10 Year Retrospective Book
As long-time supporters and occasional collaborators on YAB projects, we were thrilled to help Matthew design and produce a book reflecting on the movement's first decade and continued evolution.
To fund the project, we set up a Kickstarter page, just like everyone else with an idea and some wifi. Then we threw a (really good) party. The 10-year YAB anniversary show and campaign launch even caught Oprah's eye; as we all know, a little Oprah goes a long way. After a 3-minute piece about the project aired on OWN, we quickly raised $30K for production and publication. Onto phase two: design a book as beautiful as its message.
Part manifesto and part retrospective, with plenty of how-to for the artistically inclined, the book helped Matthew take ownership of the project while acknowledging the vital role of every YAB collaborator and supporter. To introduce each of the book's ten chapters, we created a two-page spread featuring jovial custom type designed to suit the spirit of each section. We found ways to includes the many voices, styles and photos of YAB artists, showing that You Are Beautiful is truly a public art project for the people, by the people.
Minneapolis-based Shapco produced the final book. Its launch welcomed a new era for the movement and for Matthew, who has made and shared over two million stickers and continues to receive commissions for public works dedicated to his simple, but powerful message: You are beautiful.