Q&A with Debbie Millman, Designer and Board Member

October 29, 2017 | BY Joyful Heart Foundation | FILED UNDER JHF BLOG >

This holiday season, Board Member Debbie Millman shares some extra cheer with a line of holiday cards she designed exclusively to support Joyful Heart. We spoke with Debbie about her inspiration for the cards, her connection to Joyful Heart, and what joy means to her.

What first drew you to Joyful Heart?

I first started working to help eradicate domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse when I helped to create the NO MORE movement, which was created by a consortium of organizations that included 

Board Member Debbie Millman

Verizon, Avon, Kimberly Clark, the Joyful Heart Foundation, and the branding consultancy I ran at the time, Sterling Brands. During that experience, I met Joyful Heart’s CEO, Maile Zambuto. Maile subsequently invited me to help them with the branding and repositioning of the foundation. We launched that work in 2016 at Joyful Heart’s annual gala at Lincoln Center, which honored Vice President Joe Biden. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to join the board of Joyful Heart which I, of course, did.

How has working with Joyful Heart impacted you?

Working with Joyful Heart allows me to use my considerable skills in branding to help eradicate one of the epidemics of our culture, which has profoundly impacted my own childhood. Working with Joyful Heart Foundation makes me feel like my entire life makes sense.

What was your inspiration for the design of your new Carlson Craft cards?

The design was inspired by the Joyful Heart Foundation identity. I began by using the Joyful Heart color palette and oblong shapes and then expanded and evolved from there. Each of the patterns on all of the cards contain the seeds of the Joyful Heart Foundation visual language. 

What was the design process like?

It was joyful! I am happiest when I am making things—whether it be a podcast, a lesson plan, a book, a painting, or an illustration. Working on these cards was both a thrill and an honor.

How do these cards reflect who you are as a designer and a person?

I’d like to think that the cards are vibrant, warm, and engaging. These are the attributes I try to embody in my life and my work.

What does “joy” mean to you?

I was struck recently while reading an article by Seth Godin on the difference between “happiness” and “pleasure.” He states this:

“Pleasure and happiness feel like they are substitutes for each other, different ways of getting the same thing. But they're not. ... Pleasure is short-term, addictive and selfish. It's taken, not given. ... Happiness is long-term, additive and generous. It's giving, not taking.”

I agree. I think that when you are seeking pleasure, it’s never enough. You always want more. When you are experiencing happiness, you have the sense of things being enough. I believe that joy is a byproduct of this kind of happiness.

How do you plan to spark joy this holiday season?

Sending lots and lots of cards!

Learn more about Debbie and the line of holiday cards , printed through Carlson Craft and now available for purchase.

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