The Pyramid in Practice – Theming and Life Is Good

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In this post, I want to take another look at Imagineering Pyramid principles in practice “beyond the berm” This time I want to look at Theming, and in particular, an example of “corporate theming”.

Let’s start with a refresher on Theming, described on page 44 in The Imagineering Pyramid:

Theming is all about using appropriate details to strengthen your story and support your creative intent. Theming means striving to make sure that your project delivers its message in a clear and consistent manner, one that supports and, if possible, enhances the intended experience.

So, what is “corporate theming”?

Later in the Theming chapter I write:

Other examples of theming include branding and the use of corporate logos and slogans, or what we might call “corporate theming”.

One of my favorite examples of corporate theming is the company Life is Good, Inc. Wikipedia describes this company as follows: “Life is Good, Inc. is a New England–based apparel and accessories wholesaler, retailer, and lifestyle brand founded in 1994 and best known for its optimistic T-shirts and hats, many of which feature a smiling stick figure named Jake and the registered trademark ‘Life is good’.” Up until a recent branding change in 2015, the apparel created and sold by Life is Good, Inc. was very distinctive and employed consistent use of design, lettering, and illustration style. Their theming helped reinforce the company’s mission of “Spreading the power of optimism” and their slogan “Do what you love. Love what you do.”

In this post I wanted to expand on this a bit with some pictures that illustrate the distinctive theming used on original Life is Good t-shirts.

Below are some pictures of a few of my Life is Good t-shirts (I have a couple of others as well, as do my wife and kids). You can see they all make use of a unique illustration and lettering style, including the original company logo on the inside collar.

Each shirt also features Jake’s face on the back, and a small tab bearing the company’s slogan “Do What You Like. Like What you Do®” (which I now realize I got wrong in the above quote – bad Lou, no biscuit!).

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Other items featuring the original Life is Good logo and theming include hats, mugs, and even tire covers.

Beyond these examples, you can find hundreds of examples of classic Life is Good illustrations online. Many of the early Life is Good t-shirts and other items featured their mascot Jake. You can find an assortment of Jake images on Google here.

The consistent use of their specific lettering and illustration style helps reinforce the Life is Good brand and identity, make the brand easily recognizable, and help communicate the company’s message of optimism. And that’s what theming is all about!

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!

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