The Graphics Grapevine

Since 2004, we’ve written and gathered dozens of articles on Graphic Design, Marketing, Copywriting, and the Creative Process in the The Graphics Grapevine quarterly ezine. Similar content is now being shared as single-topic blog posts on this site. Selected back articles from the Grapevine are also available here.

Why Designers Love the Ampersand

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Blog, Copywriting, Graphic Design | 0 comments

Why Designers Love the Ampersand

A ROMANCE THAT DATES BACK TO POMPEII by John Brownlee for Fast Company, January 20, 2016 Cheerily nuzzled above the “7” key like a pear-shaped pill bug, the ampersand is perhaps the most intriguing character on the keyboard. While all letters and punctuation marks look similar enough in abstract, the ampersand feels unique, like a shape-shifter that could transform at a moment’s notice. For type designers and aficionados both, it isn’t so much a character as it is a character, “usually a tirelessly entertaining one, perhaps an uncle with too many tricks,” as Simon Garfield wrote in his 2012 book, Just My Type. No wonder the ampersand attracts such endless fascination. There are coloring books about ampersands, ampersand-a-day Tumblr blogs, and a whole cottage industry of t-shirt makers working in ampersands. Perhaps the most epic undertaking of ampersand-ian tribute came in 2010, when over 400 different designers came together to create an entire font made up of nothing but distinctive and unrepeated ampersands. The project speaks to the ampersand’s individuality: a font of nothing but ampersands is easy to imagine in a way that a font of only lower case “j“s could never be. But if an ampersand feels like it can be anything, what makes an ampersand an ampersand? Where does it come from? And why, exactly, do type designers love it so much more than other characters? Flickr user arnoKath EVERY AMPERSAND STARTS WITH “ET” Ampersand design may seem infinitely variable, but no matter how stylized or abstracted, every ampersand is, at heart, an et—or Latin for “and.” Some typefaces (especially handwritten-style ones) make this more obvious: it doesn’t take too much squinting to see an “et” in the ampersands of Trebuchet MS, Garamond Italic, Casalon Italic, or even Papyrus. But you can see the Latin DNA of “et” even in an Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman ampersand, where the “e” has become a half-closed figure eight, forming the cross of a “t” with its bottom descender. And if you’ve ever handwritten an ampersand, chances are you’ve done so by drawing a loopy cursive “E,” bisected lengthwise by a straight line: another stylized “et.” The first known ampersand was scrawled on a wall in 1st-century Pompeii by an anonymous graffiti artist practicing his Roman cursive. It is related, but not identical to, a rival mark created during the same time period by Marcus Tiro, a former slave of Cicero who proposed what is known as the Tironian et (or “⁊”) as part of one of the world’s first shorthand system. Although the Tironian “et” eventually fell out of favor—except, bizarrely, in Ireland, where it is still used in Gaelic signage today—the Latin “et” continued to gain popularity, perhaps because it wasn’t tied to a larger shorthand system that scribes needed to learn in full. Instead, by the 8th century, they had stylized the Latin “et” into a symbol that looks very much like a modern ampersand. But it would take another thousand years for the ampersand to get its modern name. AND PER SE & Technically, the word ampersand is a mondegreen—meaning a jumble of words that is routinely misheard—created from the phrase “and per se &,” itself a meaningless word salad which only makes sense in historical context. IN THE 19TH CENTURY, THE AMPERSAND WAS RECOGNIZED AS THE 27TH LETTER OF THE ALPHABET, AND TAUGHT AS SUCH TO BRITISH SCHOOLCHILDREN. In...

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Ellen DeGeneres Invites ʻEverybody Design Nowʻ

Posted by on Nov 21, 2015 in Blog, Creative Process, Graphic Design | 0 comments

Ellen DeGeneres Invites ʻEverybody Design Nowʻ

Fresh News | November 15, 2015 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s new campaign initiative to take its Design in the Classroom program nationwide has gained substantial support from television host Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres recently matched contributions up to $100,000, and to date, more than $325,000 has been raised toward the museum’s $500,000 goal to launch the national program. The program itself introduces classes K-12 to design thinking and learning through interactive hands-on workshops. “As the nation’s design museum, it is our mission to ensure every student is introduced to the power of design and understands how it can be used to solve everyday problems,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “We’re so pleased to have the commitment of Ellen DeGeneres, her brand ED and countless other friends in the design world. Their support will enable us to bring this free program to schools across the country. We’re hopeful that with the public’s help we will reach and inspire even more of tomorrow’s designers.” “This program encourages students to think like designers as they engage in the design process through active observation, critical discussion, the act of making, visual communication and presentation and critique,” said Caroline Payson, director of education. “It has been a longtime dream to bring the unique experience of Design in the Classroom to every student in America.” Through Design Challenge kits, children are tasked to use common materials to build a prototype that solves a design problem and learn that design thinking can be used to solve problems faced in daily life. The 45-minute workshop instills creative confidence and encourages students to approach the world in a visual way. The program imparts essential 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, visual literacy, teamwork and problem solving, and can be used to enhance the teaching of any subject matter, including mathematics, science, environmental studies, language arts, history and visual arts. In year one, the museum’s educators will conduct four regional trainings, appoint select educators as regional ambassadors and conduct in-person follow-up visits to evaluate the integration of design into the curriculum. The national objective for the program will be accomplished through a “teachers training teachers” model. With every 100 educators trained, the program could reach 7,500 students per year. If each of these educators went on to train 10 of their peers, that’s 1,000 educators per year and 75,000 students. The museum is now inviting the public to support the campaign through the crowdfunding platform Razoo. Photographs: Jessica Nunez Copyright: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Be Sociable,...

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What John Cleese, Stephen King, Paul Simon and Anthony Trollope Can Teach You About Creativity

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in Blog, Creative Process | 0 comments

What John Cleese, Stephen King, Paul Simon and Anthony Trollope Can Teach You About Creativity

BY JAMES JOHNSON • AUGUST 13, 2015 • blog.shareasimage.com Anthony Trollope was one of the world’s most creative writers. In the 1800’s he regularly released novels over 700 pages in length, multiple times a year, and wrote whole series so long that Lord of the Rings looks like a short story. And, he did all of this while working a full time job for the British Postal Service. According to Stephen King in his book On Writing, he was able to stay so creative for one simple reason – his process: “He wrote for two and a half hours before work. This schedule was ironclad. If he was mid-sentence when this two and a half hours expired, he left that sentence unfinished until the next morning.” If he finished a book in that time too, he’d simply write The End, set it aside, and start writing his next book. Now you’re probably thinking, “Wow, that’s insane! How can you be that creative, that often?” And, you wouldn’t be the only one. The truth is,  a creative process is all you need to be more creative. In fact, it’s the only part of creativity that you have any control over at all… The Creative Process John Cleese is a comedy legend – you might remember him from Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda – but he’s also a keen psychologist. And, not too long ago, he did a lot of research into the realm of creativity. And in this research he came to the conclusion that: “Creativity is not a talent, but a way of operating” That is to say that you creativity isn’t a feature only a few people have. It’s something you can unlock. For example, in comparisons between people who are deemed intelligent, such as Engineers and Writers, and those who aren’t, there was no difference in I.Q that suggests the smarter you are, the more creative you are. As long as you have a base level of intelligence, you can be as creative as anybody else on the planet. Which is great news. But how do you unlock this creative potential hidden deep inside of you? Well, Cleese points out there are 5 ways you can become more creative if you arrange them correctly. These are: Space Time Time (Again) Confidence Humour Now, there are no guarantees that any of these will give you your big idea instantly. As is the case with anything creative, there are good days, and there are bad days. You could sit around for hours and get nothing, or you could sit down, sip your coffee and be hit with a freight train of original ideas. As the man himself says: “This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.” But what all of these steps will do, more importantly, is get you into an openmind. Which is the breeding ground for all creativity. Open Your Mind… There are two types of thinking when it comes to your work: The open mind The closed mind The closed mind is where you spend most of your day. It’s where you complete tasks, think logically and get work done. This is your productive state of mind. The open mind is where you need to get to if you want to be creative. It’s where you...

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Free Play and Creativity

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Blog, Creative Process | 0 comments

Free Play and Creativity

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” -Carl Jung My husband read that quote to me and then the first paragraph of ‘Mind at Play,’ a chapter in Stephen Nachmanovitch’s dense yet liberating little book Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. I was hooked. I’m fascinated and infatuated with the creative process and adore being in it. Now I’m inhaling the rest of the book, and sharing some highlights with you. May it inspire your own inner child. Here’s that first paragraph: “Improvisation, composition, writing, painting, theater, invention, all creative acts are forms of play, the starting place of creativity in the human growth cycle, and one of the great primal life functions. Without play, learning and evolution are not possible. Play is the taproot from which original art springs; it is the raw stuff that the artist channels and organizes with all his learning and technique. Technique itself springs from play because we can acquire technique only by the practice of practice, by persistently experimenting and playing with our tools and testing their limits and resistances. Creative work is play; it is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. Artists play with color and space. Musicians play with sound and silence. Eros plays with lovers. Gods play with the universe. Children play with everything they can get their hands on.” Nachmanovitch, an improvisational musician, suggests that, although each art form comes with its own language and lore, there’s a kind of ‘metalearning’ and ‘metadoing’ that transfers across art forms, where the essence of creativity dwells. No matter the medium of expression, “what we have to express is already with us, is us, so the work of creativity is not a matter of making the material come, but of unblocking the obstacles to its natural flow.” He writes of creativity, knowing that “our subject is inherently a mystery. It cannot be fully expressed in words, because it concerns the deep preverbal levels of spirit. No kind of linear organization can do justice to this subject; by its nature it does not lay flat on the page.” “We are all improvisors,” he observes. “The most common form of improvisation is ordinary speech. As we talk and listen, we are drawing on a set of building blocks (vocabulary) and rules for combining (grammar). But the sentences we make with them may never have been said before and may never be said again. Every conversation is a form of jazz. the activity of instantaneous creation is as ordinary to us as breathing.” There is a zen quality to this material. Regarding being in the moment, Nachmanovitch notes, “When we drop the blinders of our preconceptions, we are virtually propelled by every circumstance into the present time and the present mind: the moment, the whole moment, and nothing but the moment. This is the state of mind taught and strengthened by the art of improvisation … We can depend on the world being a perpetual surprise in perpetual motion. And a perpetual invitation to create.” He goes on to explore the nature of the ‘juice’ or raw material of creativity and...

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Recipe for a Perfect Logo (infographic)

Posted by on Jul 25, 2015 in Blog, Creative Process, Graphic Design, Marketing | 0 comments

Recipe for a Perfect Logo (infographic)

Image credit: David Joyce | FLICKR Original blog post: Kim LaChance Shandrow | ENTREPRENEUR Close your eyes and imagine Apple’s logo. Now think of Nike’s. How about Target’s? We’re willing to bet that you conjured up images for each in your mind’s eye in less than a second or so. They’re that memorable. As you can see, logos are so much more than simple symbols. They’re epic icons. Logos are the face of your company, the deliverers of the all-important lasting impression, crucial visual representations of your business, what you do and what you’re about. Accordingly, the utmost care and meticulousness should be taken when designing yours. If you already have a logo, the same goes for redesigning it. Spare no attention to detail. Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Designing Your Company’s Logo From the font to the color, to the use of negative space and beyond, the aesthetic elements of a logo greatly impact how your company (and its offerings) are perceived by customers. Does it attract them or repel them? Does it stand out or fade into the background? Does it distinctly identify your brand or confuse it with your competitors? These are all critical questions to ask during the research and design phase, but far from the only ones, only a smattering of the main ingredients for the master recipe for cooking up a successful logo. Check out the famous logo-packed CompanyFolders infographic below for a complete list of specific, actionable tips and ideas to help you design the best logo possible for your brand.   Need help with your organization’s ‘signature?’ Logo design is one of our favorite kinds of projects. Let Kauai Design help make it shine!   Be Sociable,...

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The Power of Branding

Posted by on Jun 28, 2015 in Blog, Graphic Design, Marketing | 0 comments

The Power of Branding

17 selected quotes on the nature and impacts of a solid brand identity MICHAEL EISNER. “A brand is a living entity – and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.” STEVE FORBES.  “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” UNKNOWN. “Your entire company should be considered your branding department.” MALCOLM FORBES. “There is just no way any management with any intelligence and foresight cannot recognize the value of a corporate image. It is the best, single marketable investment that a company can make.” SCOTT COOK. “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” JEFF BEZOS. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” KIM TIMOTHY. “A brand is how one customer describes your business to another.” CHRISTOPHER BETZTER. Brand equity is the sum of all the hearts and minds of every single person that comes into contact with your company.” SCOTT TALGO. “A brand that captures your mind gains behavior. A brand that captures your heart gains commitment.” ZIG ZIGLAR. “If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” PAUL RAND.  “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” DAVID AAKER. “Branding adds spirit and a soul to what would otherwise be a robotic, automated, generic price-value proposition. If branding is ultimately about the creation of human meaning, it follows logically that it is the humans who must ultimately provide it.” AL REIS & LAURA REIS. “What is the single most important objective of the marketing process? We believe it’s the process of branding. Marketing is building a brand in the mind of the prospect.” SCOTT BEDBURY. “A great brand taps into emotions. Emotions drive most, if not all, of our decisions. A brand reaches out with a powerful connecting experience. It’s an emotional connecting point that transcends the product.” KEVIN THOMSON. “Organizations in the future will manage feelings, beliefs, perceptions and values – the asset of emotional capital – as the hidden resources with the power to translate people’s knowledge into positive action.” CHARLES R. PETTIS III. “A brand is the proprietary visual, emotional, rational and cultural image that you associate with a company or product.” UNKNOWN. “The three key rules of marketing are brand recognition, brand recognition, brand recognition.” For more on branding, see Brand Thinking, The Right time to Rebrand, Branding Your Organization, and Your Organization’s Image   Be Sociable,...

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Social Media Images That Work

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Blog, Creative Process, Graphic Design, Marketing | 0 comments

Social Media Images That Work

by James Johnson, ShareAsImage.com If you’ve been looking to supercharge your social media strategy, you probably know a lot about the benefits of using images. But, how much do you know about actually creating scientifically shareable images? Turns out, there’s tons of actionable, research-backed advice on how to create social media images that get shared—the ideal colors, fonts, text, and more, all leveraging what we know about design, psychology and the Internet to get more shares and engagement. By the end of this article you’re going to be fully aware of how to make images that your readers can’t help but share. All backed by science.   What Makes A Shareable Social Media Image? A shareable social media image is made up of five components: Emotion: When your readers feel it, they’ll share it. Relevance: Your image should not only fit your niche, but fit your audience too. Colors: Using the right colors, to get maximum shares. Typography: Choosing a font that not only looks good, but also says what you’re trying to say. Hashtags and Text: Using the right words, phrases and hashtags that will make your audience interact. In the article you’re going to learn how you can take advantage of all of these elements, and put them together to create the best social images you possibly can. 1. Emotion Create Epic Content (Or Nobody Will Share It) Before I carry on, there’s one thing I do need to mention: You need to treat your images as content. And not just any sort of content. I mean the epic kind, that’s going to add a ton of value to your reader’s life. Because that’s the only content people share, right? If you’re creating images because you feel you need to – and just scatter them throughout your news feed – you’re not going to get anywhere. Your images should:    Back up points you’ve made    Show statistics    Provide tweetable (or valuable) quotes    Add depth    Go above and beyond the content you’ve written So, be sure that the images you use – or make – aren’t just there for the sake of it. Treat them as content and put a high value on what goes on them. What Makes An Image Emotional (And Shareable)? Emotion is the biggest piece of the sharing puzzle. And it’s the driving force behind all five points on this list – so it deserves a lot of attention. So, what makes an image emotional? As it turns out, there are a lot of factors: Color: Studies of abstract art have shown that the way color is used and distributed across a piece controls the emotions you feel. For example, black creates feelings at the despair end of the spectrum and bright primary colors can create joy and happiness. Font Choice: You’ll learn about this in depth in section four. Complexity: This isn’t complex designs – more on that next – but emotionalcomplexity. Research shows that the more feelings your images can convey,the more viral it will go. Showing one of these five things: Research from Harvard studied what makes marketing campaigns, and their images, go viral. They found that: Admiration, Interest, Serenity, Amazement and Astonishment were the most shared emotions. Simple Designs, Big Emotions You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create solid social media images. In fact, far from it. I’ve run twitter feeds for months without a single minute of design under my belt. All it takes is a little knowledge of how design works, and what it takes...

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10 Proven Persuasion Strategies

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Blog, Copywriting, Marketing | 0 comments

10 Proven Persuasion Strategies

A guest post by John Forde, Copywriter’s Roundtable Persuasion, the good kind, isn’t about manipulation. It’s about tapping into those natural instincts we all have for self-preservation, and aligning those interests in somebody else with your own. Does that mean there are “click, whir” built-in triggers you can use to persuade? It does. Here’s a checklist with a few… ROUND UP THE HERD Teenagers all want to wear the same sneakers, only the crowded clubs seem cool, everybody wants an iPod. What is it about humans that they love to run with the herd? Trigger this response with statements about how many customers you’ve had so far, how orders have poured in, how high you rank in popularity compared to the competition. THE BUDDY BUMP You can “bump” up the likability of your product if friends, authorities, or even similar customers give your product a conspicuous nod of approval. Include pictures of people like your prospect using the product, tell the down-to-earth success stories of those similar customers. This technique is everywhere for a reason. FORCE THE POSITIVE Ask a question, any question, that’s going to get a “yes” response. And ask it early. Relevant questions may work even better, but research shows that almost any time you can get someone to say “yes,” they’re much more receptive to the rest of what you have to say. Just saying the word has a bond-building effect on both people in the exchange. IRRESISTIBLE CONSISTENCY We hate to be seen as inconsistent, simply because consistency is key to building trust in a relationship. Which is why so many who use the “yes” technique above ask small questions that they know they’ll later refer back to so they can get a larger commitment. e.g. “There’s nothing like ice cream on a hot summer day, am I right? It’s one of the sweetest memories any child could have.” And later, “You agreed with me about the cool satisfaction of a cone of ice cream in summer, I’m sure. Or you wouldn’t have read this far. That’s why I want to show you the new auto-cranking ice cream maker from…” THE BECAUSE CLAUSE Dr. Robert Cialdini found, in one of his studies, that dropping the word “because” into a rationale — even for an explanation that’s irrational — had the strange effect of getting people to respond to even unusual requests. In his case, his students used the trick to get other students to surrender the copy machine in the library. (e.g. “Can I jump in front of you and copy these 25 pages in my book? I need to because my parrot has dysentery…”) MAINTAIN THE MYSTERY No matter how cliché you think it is, teases and opportunities that are “hidden”… “undiscovered”… and “secret” have pulling power. Secrets capitalize on our fear of missing out or not being included. Shared secrets (real ones) help develop bonds. ACHILLES HEEL Have you ever noticed how the comedians that make fun of themselves make us laugh harder and last longer than the ones that can’t? Making mistakes publically embarrasses us. But seeing others make mistakes makes them seem more approachable and relaxed. If you’ve got a weakness or you’ve made a mistake that doesn’t destroy your credibility, feel free to mention it as part of your “story.” THE...

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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in Blog, Creative Process | 0 comments

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

A review of the book by Daniel Pink As a longtime student of human motivation, I donʻt know why it took me six years to get around to this book. It’s game-changing information that researchers have known since the late 1950’s, but that business and educational institutions have largely ignored. Pink describes three levels of motivation: Motivation 1.0 is the most primitive “operating system,” based on our basic biological needs: food, water and sex. Motivation 2.0 is all about motivating with rewards and punishments: the carrot and the stick, the predominant model for human behavior since caveman days. The new paradigm Pink illuminates so well in this book is Motivation 3.0: instrinsic, internally-generated motivation driven by our needs for automomy, mastery and purpose. In this ambitious book, Pink explores four decades of research on what boosts performance and creates satisfaction in our lives…and what doesn’t. He shares the pioneering work of research psychologists Harry Harlow and Edward Deci, who demonstrated that the performance of a task can be its own reward. Harlow proposed this radical idea back in 1949, based on his studies with rhesus monkeys, but it was not widely accepted by the scientific community. Deci picked up the investigation twenty years later and ultimately concluded that we have an “inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise [our] capacities to explore, and to learn.” Pink makes the case that the carrot and stick approach can actually be detrimental to motivation, in that it can: extinguish intrinsic motivation diminish performance crush creativity crowd out good behavior encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior become addictive foster short-term thinking He convincingly spells out why external incentives are no longer the driving force they once were. A growing number of aging baby boomers are looking back on their lives so far and finding a lack of meaning and purpose. We, and the generations behind us, are seeking jobs and projects that are creative, interesting, and self-directed. Pink shares ways for both individuals and organizations to transition into a Motivation 3.0 framework, building more intrinsic satisfaction into our lives. He explores a variety of alternative business models that enhance performance and address the human inclination to perform tasks for their own sake. These incorporate Pink’s three elements of motivation — autonomy, mastery, and purpose — and include: ROWEs (results-only work environments) where the employee determines when and where they work, as long as their work gets done 20 Percent Time where workers spend one day a week (20 percent of their time) on projects of their own making “Homeshoring” where customer service reps take calls from home, doing their work with greater autonomy and no commute Creating flow-friendly environments where the creativity and mastery of employees is encouraged. Building in opportunities for workers to derive purpose and meaning from their jobs by contributing to a cause larger than themselves Pink also provides alternative educational models and a 70-page “Toolkit” including: Nine Strategies for Awakening Your Motivation Nine Ways to Improve Your Company, Office, or Group Nine Ideas for Helping Our Kids Fifteen Essential Books Six Business Thinkers Who Get It His Twitter length (140 characters max.) summary of the book? “Carrots & sticks are so last century. Drive says for 21st century work we need to upgrade to autonomy,...

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Acting Happy Helps Us Stay Healthy (Duh.)

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Blog, Copywriting, Creative Process | 0 comments

Acting Happy Helps Us Stay Healthy (Duh.)

One of my favorite subjects: happiness. SO many benefits SO worthy of cultivating. Dr. Anderson lives it and backs it with science. Ok, so how exactly is this subject related to this blog’s stated parameters of graphic design, marketing and the creative process? Well, there’s some creative writing in here…you start writing your own scripts where you’re the hero or heroine (not the victim) and there’s always a happy ending. And what could be more creative than creating your own quality of life? As Dr. Anderson models (and Pollyanna before him), attitude is always a choice. Guest Post by JEFF STRICKLER, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE February 25, 2015 – 9:32 PM Acting happy helps keep us healthy, says a [Minneapolis] doctor who employs the upbeat philosophy in his practice — and in his own life. Dr. Dale Anderson’s background includes extensive training in surgery, family practice, emergency medicine and the Stanislavsky method for actors. No, he’s not a frustrated Broadway star. In fact, other than for a couple of roles in school plays 60-plus years ago, he’s never done any acting. At least, not on stage. But every day he acts happy, which helps keep him healthy. “A happy body produces endorphins,” he said. “Endorphins are part of the opioid family. That’s the same as opium and morphine. We have our own internal pharmacy that is always open and has no copay.” A retired clinical assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, Anderson has focused on studying and promoting the connection between a happy outlook and a healthy body. He’s convinced that we have the ability to make ourselves happy — or, more to the point, make our bodies react as if we were happy — and, thereby, make ourselves feel better. “By learning to act as if you are happy, healthy and vital, even when you don’t feel that way, you can change your body’s chemistry and begin to feel the way you act,” he argues. The flip side, acting unhappy and making ourselves unhealthy, can happen, too, he warned. “The surly bird gets the germ,” he said. (Anderson is a master of the pun, a verbal machine gun throwing out terms such as the “individu-well” and the “well-derly,” along with directives to “inner-tain” yourself for “the health of it.”) His interest in acting happy for better health stems from treating a patient who made him unhappy because he couldn’t help her. “She was an actress who came to me complaining of aches and pains,” he said. “We tried everything from physical therapy to chiropracty, but the pain didn’t get any better. It’s very hard for a physician when you can’t do anything to help.” She mentioned that her current role involved playing someone who was angry. A few weeks later, that play closed and she switched to a role that was upbeat. “All her aches and pains went away,” Anderson said. “I started reading everything I could about method acting.” He conducted a survey of the Twin Cities acting community. The performers who described themselves as method actors — an approach in which the actor makes a physical and emotional connection with the character — reported a correlation between their roles and their health. The actors playing downer characters reported feeling worse than usual, while the actors with happier parts said they felt better. Actors...

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