designing a better harvest

I work with some of the Rockies’ best graphic designers. These are the problem-solvers whose imagination turns lines, angles, tones and textures into original communications that capture attention and convey meaning.  Being invited to wrap my words around the solutions they invent is pure pleasure.

If graphic designers have a patron saint, I’m thinking it’s Saul Bass. Even if you’re not familiar with the name, you know his work. During his 50 years in the business, he gave the world marketplace dozens of its top marks–Quaker Oats, Girl Scouts, Lawry’s, AT&T, Dixie, Kleenex, United Way.  Moreover, his logos had amazing longevity–an average of 34 years.

But this week, as I shift gears from family time in Iowa to copywriting in Colorado, it’s another Saul Bass creation that’s captured my attention.  He designed the artwork presented to two international heroes of harvest Wednesday night in Des Moines.  The World Food Prize was established by Dr. Norman Borlaug, fellow Iowegian and Nobel Prize winner, for his tireless work in the field of food supplies and his focus on problem solution through next-generation education. This year, the tribute’s 25th anniversary, brought more than 1,000 international leaders to the Hawkeye State “…to discuss solutions for providing food in the midst of challenges posed by political volatility, extreme weather, population growth and other factors.”

The 2011 prize–which included Bass’ sculpture plus a significant monetary award–recognized the contributions of World Food Prize Laureates John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil.

I love the fact that my home state sponsors this recognition of what it takes to keep the world fed and related research into ways to do it better. Traveling west–passing golden fields of ear-heavy stalks awaiting harvesters and joining dozen-car convoys headed by massive equipment moving from one farm to another–filled me with gratitude for problem-solvers at every level. For people who trust that inner guidance to move from question to answer.

Here’s to the designer in all of us.

~Carla. 10.13.11

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