LipSmackers and Me

I used to draw every day. Now my drawing table isn’t even set up in my studio. It’s stored down in my basement where I drop in and visit it occasionally.
Me in my AG cubicle ca 1988
The computer area has taken over one side of my studio, and my jewelry bench, the other. Sometimes I miss drawing.  But mostly I’d rather be metalsmithing these days, so that’s OK.
In the 1980’s I was employed as a greeting card artist at American Greetings. It was a great job. I was surrounded by talented creative interesting people and we called it “high school with a paycheck.”  My thing was drawing humorous and juvenile, and I illustrated hundreds of greeting cards, gift wrap designs, party goods and related products. It was a ball. On the side I took freelance design jobs. Usually my clients were companies that manufactured products for kids, as my drawing style was whimsical and cute.
Like the perm? Yeah, I wore acid washed denim. Give me a break! It was the 80's.
One day in 1989 I got a call from Bonne Bell, the Cleveland based cosmetics company well known for their popular 10-0-6 astringent and LipSmackers flavored lip balm.
They were looking for an artist to help them out with some new LipSmacker seasonal package designs and a fellow American Greetings employee had given them my name.
And so began my relationship with LipSmackers.
LipSmackers came out in 1975 and have been a favorite of the preteen set ever since. I remember collecting LipSmackers as a kid; the popular flavors with my friends being strawberry and Dr. Pepper. The then marketing director at Bonne Bell (now owner of a wonderful group of independent toy stores in Cleveland called Playmatters) was looking for some ideas for Christmas packaging for LipSmackers. We came up with some reindeer headed plastic candy cane packages for the product, and related Christmas packaging for the LipSmacker line.  At the time the LipSmacker logo was rather generic, and we decided it was time for an update.
That was how I came to draw the LipSmacker logo.

I continued to design packaging and point of purchase displays for LipSmackers and their related Smackers line for several years. It was fun to see the seasonal displays in stores. I befriended the cosmetics manager at my local drug store and she used to save the Easter and Christmas LipSmacker displays for me when they were done with them. I also came up with a Lydia LipSmacker character to be the president of “Club LipSmacker”. There were newsletters and giveaways. This was in the days before the internet.  We even had a cute Lydia doll.
Sadly, I was in a Target store recently and noticed that LipSmackers are getting a new look. It looks to me like they are marketing toward older girls now. I realize that 17 year olds aren't reading Seventeen Magazine. Thirteen and fourteen year olds are. So I get it. My logo was very cute, really aimed more toward kids than teens. You can still see my logo on a few of their LipSmacker products, but it is clear that their packaging is getting a new look.
My logo had a good run though, appearing on Bonne Bell products for more than two decades. I guess everyone needs change from time to time. I suppose it's time for LipSmackers to grow up. Just like my twin daughters who recently celebrated their 21st birthday. And with whom I was pregnant when I drew this logo.
Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.
My metalsmith friends are blogging about change this month. 
You can visit their blogs here:


Marcus Berkner said...

Great story, thanks for sharing.

On a positive note, I hear Lydia LipSmacker has been granted asylum in Argentina.

Gaynor Mann said...

I remember this packaging!! Ive bought more than a few Lip Smackers for my two girls over the years!! :D SO cool that Ill be able to tell them that I know the lady who designed the packaging!! :D

L Sue Szabo said...

i used to love the lipsmackers and bonnie bell- i didn't know you did this! how cool.

Ann Hartley said...

We were JUST talking about Lip Smackers the other day! In high school they were THE must have accessory! Fabulous to know you designed the logo and packaging! What an excellent post!!

zJayne said...

I'm thinking there's a market for "vintage" lip smacker packaging down the road... they'll have their come back, it is inevitable! I tell you!

Such fun talent~

Valerie said...

I visit often--so it's nice to have another excuse to peek at your blog.

I think that packaging had a tremendous run. I think there's very few products in which the branding lasted so long.

You're so talented! :)

beadsnbangles said...

That is so cool! You are a very talented artist.

jillybean94 said...

Seeing the new logo makes me so sad. Your logo has been one of my most favorite logos ever and I'm a logo snob.

Thank you for sharing your story, I would have loved to have worked for Bonne Bell, as well as American Greetings.

Lip Smackers gave me so much happiness in my college years and are still one of my favorite products!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post, I loved seeing the history behind the old logo and artwork. The sketches and then final artwork are the best part.

I run a Lip Smacker fan blog which has some pictures up of smackers using the block logo: www.bunnycookie.com

Anyway, this ranks up there with Lisa Frank for me on the nostalgia meter, so thanks :)

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