From the SPD Archives: Buttons from the 39th SPD Gala, 2004

From the SPD Archives: Buttons from the 39th SPD Gala, 2004 SPD50n.jpgThe 39th SPD Gala, held on May 7, 2004 at the New York Public Library, featured a rock 'n' roll theme. The co-chairs for Pub 30 were Carla Frank, design director of O, The Oprah Magazine, Luke Hayman, recently hired design director of New York, and Mitch Shostak, principal of Shostak Studios. A highlight of the event was the presentation of the Herb Lubalin Lifetime Achievement Award to George Lois, and the presenting speech by Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.

Pictured above is the program brochure from the 39th SPD Gala, along with buttons that were distributed at the event. The brochure was designed by Kristin Fitzpatrick, Kristen Rayner, Jill Rosenberg, and Chloe Weiss of O, The Oprah Magazine, with a cover photograph by Charles Peterson.

Co-chair Carla Frank has some background on one of the Gala's most distinctive items, a series of magazine art direction-themed buttons that were distributed to event goers. And there's a slideshow with 20 of our favorite buttons from the Gala.



Carla Frank: When Luke Hayman and I were co-chairing the SPD 39 Gala we wanted to have an extra-extra fun party. So we decided to create some party favors in addition to the traditional brochure. Since we had a rock 'n' roll theme, the button idea was a perfect match.

Hurriedly, we bought an old fashioned button making machine which was large and heavy. As I recall, it was not too costly, probably because it was rather turn-of-the-century regarding efficiency. It pressed out one button at a time.

When we were splitting up all the work we had to do, Luke ran off with the heavy metal equipment and promised to have the buttons done in a week or two.

A week later he showed up with a bag of these hysterical buttons which he wrote and designed himself. At the same time he was doing this, he had just been hired by New York magazine. IMPRESSIVE!

Well, okay, he didn't necessarily press each button out of that machine-contraption by himself. He had his interns working on it. I joked with him that it was probably like jail cell work for them, as I pictured half exhausted kids in a small dark room somewhere pressing out--yes--one button at time and letting them clink to the floor.

In the end, his team produced hundreds and hundreds of buttons, because we had an attendance of well over 600 that year and we wanted people to be able to take more than one home. Post party, we were really thrilled that almost all of the buttons had been taken.

I did keep a nice size stash of them until recently. Through the years I gave them to designers and editors as little gifts. It was always fun finding the perfect button for the person or situation. They still make me laugh and the dated language makes them even more insider-y now.

I have one left in my collection. "PUNKTUATION!"
Which do you have?


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