In a month when our cultural sausage factory has somehow turned mommy-porn novel “50 Shades of Grey” into a box office blockbuster, the continued life of Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman’s “40 Days of Dating” offers a pleasant alternative to that whips ‘n chains romance. In December the Sagmeister & Walsh principal and her fellow designer transformed the performance art courtship they began online into a book.
Last week, while many of us were trying to avoid the usual Valentine’s Day cliches (candy, chocolates, type foundry gift cards), the pair distributed 400 copies of that book throughout New York City: on cafe seats, park benches, subways – places where the public would have no trouble finding them. (Many of the places were the scenes of some of the dates they described in their online experiment.)
And because they are designers after all, they inserted a print piece featuring a date suggestion – along with the cash to cover it – inside each copy: from helicopter rides to sharing a simple glass of wine.
The 40 Days of Dating website and book continue to be a wonderful example of how design can truly make every aspect of life richer…though the pair ultimately decided they were better off as friends.