David Sopp is the head designer- and illustrator-in-charge at Wry Baby, one of my all-time favorite baby product-making companies. David is also co-owner with copywriter wife Kelly, where they have birthed such awesome creations as The Drooly Bib, Punkifier Pacifier Case and Eeek! It’s a Monster Hooded Bath Towel, all of which Designer Daddy JJ owns and loves.
Q&A with designer dad David Sopp
How long have you been a dad? How many kids?
I’ve been a Dad to one amazing boy for 11 years.
How did you get started in design?
My first paid job was illustrating a hose-handling guide for the Orange County Fire Department. I was in Junior High and it sounded as hilariously dirty then as it does now.
I spent 15 years as an advertising art director in San Francisco. I worked on pretty much everything from Dell and Nortel to Star Olive Oil and an IHL hockey team called the Spiders. That’s what I like most about advertising, getting really smart about all kinds of businesses in really short time frames and nailing their problems.
Tell me about how Wry Baby got started.
Our son came with a free t-shirt at the hospital. It said the hospital name and the wrong month and we thought, “How lame! Why didn’t they just put NEW! In a red starburst and call it a day?” So we made that shirt and it was the first Wry Baby product.
I got to play full-on SAHD the other day, so took the opportunity to initiate a craft project with JJ. I see all these amazing books, blogs and segments on TV on how to make incredible crafts with your kids and am genuinely intimidated. How will I find the time to come up with ideas? What if JJ’s not into drawing or art or creative stuff? What good will I be to him as a dad?!?
But then I remember he’s still just two, and his favorite things to do still include making messes, touching everything, and destroying stuff. So while he’s limited on how much he can actually create, we’ve got a few more good years of dad/son craft-bonding ahead of us.
The chosen project was to make a birthday card for Papa. Have you ever tried to find a birthday card (or any card for that matter) for a “Papa”? I’ve come across a couple of Father’s Day cards (some of which were for grandfathers) but generally the Papas of the world get the shaft when it comes to cards, books, TV shows, etc. So we had to represent.
I knew I needed to keep it simple for JJ, so it was fun (and challenging) enough to just let him go to town scrawling wildly on colored construction paper with his jumbo Crayons and markers. I then cut them out, punched a bunch of star-shaped holes in them, and strung it up like a mobile. (Bonus: this serves as a fun spelling tool!)
Papa was very pleased, so I’m hoping this will become an annual tradition – with JJ getting more and more involved, and me moving into a more art directorial position. And I guess eventually just the guy who buys the stuff and cleans up.
I was notified of this a while back, but just now picked up the latest Regional Design Annual from Print, featuring none other than the invitation to JJ’s first birthday party! Print‘s RDA is one of the longest-running and most exclusive design competitions around, and I’ve had the honor of being included a few times over the course of my career. The most memorable was probably the first, which I wrote about earlier this year.
But this one — being for my kiddo and all — is pretty special, too.
You can find Print‘s 31st Regional Design Annual on newsstands now, or download a digital version from their online store.
Since it would have been impossible to top last year’s birthday invitation (and because we hosted another party at the house just a couple weeks prior) I opted for an email invitation for JJ’s second birthday party. I’m such a slacker, I know… Realizing the “Two” birthday is most frequently preceded by the word “Terrible,” I put a preemptive, positive spin on the graphic I attached with the invite:
The asterisk read, “*There will be no mention of the ‘Terrible Twos.’ Hey, a little wishful thinking never hurt anyone!”
The party was a blast and JJ had all kinds of fun – opening presents, wallowing in piles of leaves, and romping around with visiting cousins. Speaking of presents, one particularly awesome but oddly-shaped gift was shipped direct from Amazon, which I un-boxed at the very last minute and realized was next to impossible to wrap. So I quickly tied on a twisty ribbon and tucked it behind all the other baby booty.
Of course JJ discovered it while goofing around under the food table. I caught him red-handed, and he turned around and gave this adorably impish grin:
…which also worked perfectly for the Thank You emails.
So far the Twos are pretty terrific. Besides, how can you stay mad at that face?
JJ pulled in quite a haul at his 2nd birthday party last weekend, and in sorting through all the booty I thought it would be fun to feature a few of them as DooDads of the Day.
There are two reasons I’m featuring these awesome little sippy cups: 1) because they’re nutritional and educational, and 2) because they’re made by a company called “Sugar Booger,” a nickname my Mom used to use, and now I use on occasion for both JJ and Cordi (our pooch).
The only downside to the cups is that JJ — who’s in the process of mastering the alphabet — likes to turn the cup around and upside down to read all the letters, invariably dropping the cup. And being made of melamine, it makes quite a big noise (for such a small cup) when bouncing off the floor!
Sugar Booger also makes matching bibs, tablecloths and silverware, as well as a whole lot of other fun stuff through their parent company ORE Originals. Cheers!
So here we are, one year later and the blog is still going strong (ish). Someone recently asked me how I found the time. Which is ironic because I follow several other Dad Blogs — most of them are SAHD (Stat-at-home Dads) — yet they are much more prolific. I’m always wishing I had more time to write, but I gotta make money and take care of the kiddo some of the time, too.
Speaking of making money, I realize blogging doesn’t (at least not for me), but I have really come to enjoy it and so indulge myself. And hopefully a few readers have enjoyed it along the way as well. I also tell myself this is my version of scrapbooking. While I am pretty crafty, I don’t have the patience for that level of craziness.
Of course the blog’s 1st birthday coincides with the 2nd birthday of JJ, the blog’s inspiration!
So here’s a special guest Fridge Wisdom submission from two of JJ’s cousins who visited this last weekend for all the festivities.
In honor of Designer Daddy’s 1st Birthday — and all the awesome folks who read, follow, comment on, and forward me — I’m hosting my first ever giveaway!
A copy of Charley Harper’s ABC’s –
This classic board book showcases the gorgeous wildlife illustrations of Charley Harper. A must for any style-minded child (or adult), whether they know their alphabet already or not. You can see more of Harper’s exquisite works of “minimal realism” here. (Shhh! JJ’s getting this for his birthday, so mum’s the word)
One shirt (any style/size) from the Designer Daddy Store –
Visit the Designer Daddy Store and pick out any tee, sweatshirt or hoodie in one of the super cool and creepy Halloweenie Doodle styles to keep you warm and wacky throughout the fall. Sizes available in kids 2-4 through adult 3XL in most styles.
How to enter:
Tweet! Like! Comment! Between now and Friday, Nov 11 you can enter to win the Designer Daddy Birthday Package by doing any of the following: 1) Follow Designer Daddy on Twitter and Tweet a link to this post, 2) Like the Designer Daddy Facebook page and leave a birthday greeting on the wall, or 3) Leave a birthday greeting in the comments here.
One entry per site (Twitter, Facebook, or Designer Daddy) — so up to three entries per person!
The winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday, Nov 14. And thanks again everyone for a great first year!
…and the dot and the swirl and the squiggle.
My goal (well, my latest goal — there have been several) was to have Jon’s mural done by his second birthday. Or more importantly, his second birthday party. Which is exactly 10 days away. Zoinks.
I have made some progress, which is posted below. Let me know what you think, and please continue to cheer me on. The end is in sight! Let’s just hope I don’t go crazy and — as I’m prone to do — overdo it. No “undo” command on this bad boy.
Lord willing (and the creek don’t rise), I’ll be back here in 10 days, posting pics of the final product!