The World of Lisa Frank Is Revealed, Sort Of

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 4 2013 12:05 PM

The World of Lisa Frank Is Revealed, Sort Of

lisa frank
A still from The World of Lisa Frank


To young women of a certain age (and some of their male contemporaries), the name Lisa Frank conjures up psychedelic images of rainbows, hearts, music notes, teddy bears, and unicorns. “To me, no other name conjures a very specific aesthetic more than Lisa Frank,” one colleague and contemporary emailed today. “Not even the names of, like, legit artists.” It is art focused on “everything that makes a kid happy,” according to Frank herself in a new short documentary about her signature multi-colored aesthetic, which has been marketed to young girls for decades now.

The reclusive artist, whose popularity peaked in the ’80s and, especially, the ’90s, agreed to be interviewed for the Urban Outfitters-produced The World of Lisa Frank (the retailer began selling Lisa Frank items last year), directed by Scott Ross and Karl Beyer. But she only appears in discreet shadows, which emphasize, by contrast, the rainbow-tinted floor-to-ceiling glass windows of her Tucson, Ariz. headquarters. While the video is brief, the self-described “crazy” businesswoman provides a bit of insight into how her distinct art was created before and after computers, and notes that the company’s vaults contain a version of every single item ever produced. (And stay tuned for a clip of the 1993 commercial featuring a very young Mila Kunis, right around the 3:00 mark.)


Even if the rest of us have outgrown the loud, trippy colors that once adorned our backpacks, notebooks, pencils, and Trapper Keepers, Frank still shows a dedication to making a new generation of kids happy—and, as she admits, is still very much a child at heart. 

(Via LaughingSquid.)

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?