Every decade between 1909 and 1970, Congress called a giant gathering of experts of organizations to the White House to discuss issues pertaining to the nation’s children. the 1970 White House Conference on Children was the largest. (It would also wind up being the last to be held.)
We came up with a simple idea: two flowers — a larger one and a smaller one — suggesting a parent and child, but also suggesting growth, development, and vitality.
But how do you make a mark look as though a child created it? The obvious answer is to go find a child to draw it. So we asked a few children to do the “child-like” drawing.
It was a complete disaster: the actual child-produced drawings were charming but did not look childlike at all.
We needed an adult’s version of a child-like drawing. But how do you achieve that? Another technique we tried was drawing and walking at the same time. We produced dozens of pages of drawings, but ultimately, success came with another old trick: switching to the less dominant hand, which is sure to produce a slightly imperfect and clumsy result.
And it worked.
It was a versatile enough concept that we were able to create a series of variations upon it to go along with the different themes and focuses of the conference.
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