In the 80s and 90s, Lisa Frank was the epitome of coolness. Here are some things you might not have known about the brand and the woman behind it.
1. There is a real Lisa Frank.
Although Lisa Frank is rarely seen and not granted interviews these days, she is actually a real person. Frank grew up in Detroit and when he was a high school graduate, Frank sold $ 3,000 worth of her art at an art show [PDF].
2. Lisa Frank founded the company during her studies.
Frank went to the University of Arizona to study math and art and told Urban Outfitters in a rare interview (granted in 2012 when the retailer started selling vintage Lisa Frank pieces online) that it was making the decision “My father said, ̵
Eventually she started telling artists what to do – and then decided to do things herself. When she was only 20, she started Sticky Fingers with plastic jewelry. According to Jezebel, it was sold in Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s.
In 1979, when she was 24 years old, Frank renamed the company Lisa Frank Inc. because, according to the Arizona Daily Star“Her name has been better known to professionals since her time as an artist.” In her first year in business, Frank sold a $ 1 million contract to Spencer’s Gifts.
3. One of Lisa Frank’s first designs was a chewing gum machine.
The design that started it all … Icon Lisa Frank!
Posted by Lisa Frank on Tuesday 1st May, 2012
“The chewing gum machine came from my childhood,” Frank told UO. “My dad gave me an antique gumball machine, so that was my original logo … And do you know how your friends start sending it to you when they find out you’re into something? So I probably have a huge collection of chewing gum somewhere. “
The company’s early designs, she said, “were very simple. The very first thing we did before the stickers were buttons, and since they were so small we made the artwork very small too. “Eventually the line would be expanded to include pencils, stationery, binders, lunch boxes, backpacks, trapper keepers and more.
4. Initially, all of Lisa Frank’s art was drawn and colored by hand.
When Rondi Kutz came to Lisa Frank as an artist in 1987, she created concepts for designs with markers, acrylic paints and airbrushing. “All of the art was done with airbrush back then, even though they had a computer that the creative director was learning,” she told HelloGiggles. “Then the other artists learned to create the airbrush look art and from 1988 to 1989 they started doing all the illustration on the computer.” Kutz, who was eventually named Senior Designer / Product Development Group Leader for Lisa Frank, Inc. and worked there until 2002, said that she “had no patience with the computer and so continued to create concepts as marker renderings that were then sent to the computer illustrators to clean up and illustrate. “
5. Many artists have worked on Lisa Frank’s illustrations.
“The artwork was a collaborative effort, but it all started with me putting it on paper as a marker rendering,” Kutz told HelloGiggles. “The concepts are from Lisa, James (her husband) or me, so I can say that some of the characters were my idea and my original design. But when it went to an illustrator to redraw it, add detail, and then to the computer artist who rendered it on the computer (which meant hundreds of hours of work) it had lots of artist stamps on it. “
Frank himself said: “We have to stop and say ‘OK, it’s enough!’ Because an illustration can contain hundreds of hours. It’s really kind of insane. ”(“ Lisa is fanatical about details, ”said Kutz.“ But that’s what makes her art so extraordinary. ”)
6. Lisa Frank has two favorite characters.
It’s the rainbow-patterned leopard and tiger babies named Hunter and Forrest, “based on my kids!” Frank said UO. “Forrest is based on my 13 year old and Hunter is a 17 year old character named on the day Hunter was born. We had both created characters before the boys were born and when they were born we thought, ‘Oh my god, they really match their personality!’ “
7. Most Lisa Frank characters are named after real people.
Naming two characters after their children was not an isolated case: “We really try to base our characters on people who are or have been in our lives, and sometimes it is remembered. We ask people first, ”Frank said, noting that she based two characters, Casey and Caymus, on her first Golden Retriever. Nobody, said Frank, refused: “People actually ask us, ‘Can you make a character with my name?'”
8. An early Lisa Frank character had a sad genesis.
Markie, one of Frank’s first characters, is a unicorn who lives “in the clouds above the fantastic world of Lisa Frank” (also known as “Airfluff Island”), likes butterflies, explores, collects stars, skips and dreams and hates clouds . Hesitation, bad smells, [and] Bullies. “Frank told UO that the unicorn was named after a friend of ours who died of a heart attack very young.”
9. There is a special Lisa Frank ink.
“We have a proprietary ink formula that I developed very early on to make everything brighter,” Frank told UO. “It’s typical of a four-color process, but we use a special mix to make these colors.” All licensees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement as the mixture is a closely guarded secret.
10. A character has a lot in common with Lisa Frank herself.
Although she said that “there’s probably a little bit of me in every character,” Frank told Urban Outfitters that the character who is very similar to her is Purrscilla, “because she’s very into glamor and glamor and jewelry and everything girlish. ” The cat even wears illustrated versions of Frank’s own jewelry. Funnily enough, Frank said she isn’t a cat person – she prefers dogs.
11. Mila Kunis starred in a Lisa Frank commercial in the 1990s.
She also appeared on the cover of the company’s fan magazine, Lisa and me, in 1997.
12. There are Lisa Frank clothes.
A clothing line appeared in 2011 and featured the bright colors and characters that stand for Frank. Nowadays you can buy clothes and mugs on the Lisa Frank website.
13. There was a Lisa Frank and Friends Clothing collection.
The collection that linked the two ’90s pop culture giants – the t-shirt featured Ross and Rachel alongside Frank’s legendary aliens, while the sweatpants featured the logos for each brand along with Frank’s designs – was only available for a single day.
14. Lisa Frank also worked with Ed Hardy.
The tattoo artist’s office supplies line included art by Lisa Frank Inc.
15. Lisa Frank Inc.’s headquarters are located on S. Lisa Frank Avenue in Tucson, Arizona.
The street was originally named South Masterson Avenue after Bat Masterson, a friend of Wyatt Earp. It was renamed S. Lisa Frank Avenue in 1997 – a move that led to a protest by American Airlines, which was also on the street and only learned of the name change after a new street sign appeared.
By 2015, Frank’s 320,000-square-foot facility, which featured colorful characters inside and out, was mostly empty. According to a 2013 New York Times Article: “Your factory, which once employed hundreds of people, has six employees … Frank’s company, a victim of protracted property litigation and poor manufacturing deals, has disappeared from popular culture – not an uncommon fate for the animal known as retail fashion.” Building was put up for sale a few years ago.
16. Lisa Frank’s offices have fireproof vaults.
It was there that the company kept copies of everything it had ever done, as well as the original artwork that was made before computers. Known as The Library, it contained thousands of products. “I think we made so many products because I get bored quickly,” Frank told Urban Outfitters. “As soon as we mastered one category, I would want to do another category. I’m trying to think about what we did NOT do. There’s hardly anything we haven’t really done. “
17. At some point there was a Lisa Frank app.
Lisa Frank Pic n ‘Share allowed users to put Lisa Frank stickers on their photos.
18. Lisa Frank wanted to do a theme park.
“If I could do anything I think a theme park,” said Frank UO. “Because Lisa Frank’s world is really a world. And I think before I die we should have this world somewhere, not just on paper. I think that would be pretty great. “
19. Lisa Frank’s Instagram is run by her son.
Lisa Frank’s Instagram presence is adorable, in a word – and we have her 21-year-old son Forrest Green to thank for that. “I originally started Instagram in high school,” said Green, then 20 she in August 2019. “I retired to focus on school and took it back about 6 months ago.” When asked about his strategy for the site, Green said, “I just want the People feel inspired and happy when they visit the site. That is in the first place. … I try to be unique and different and to interact with people who may not feel so organic at first sight. They say, ‘Why is Lisa Frank here? Why is Lisa Frank in this world? I don’t understand I want to know more about it. ‘I don’t want you to get me. I don’t want you to get this company. I want you to keep asking questions. I think that’s my strategy. “