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Inspiring Happiness Amidst Vancouver’s ‘Gloom’

Posted by Kelly Chen in Design Community

The Happy Show – interactive takeaways

It’s hard walking backwards, and my happiness gumball fell on the ground.


Recently, Vancouver was revealed to be the least happy city in Canada.

Is it all the rain? Is it true that we just aren’t all that friendly or approachable? Whatever the reason, Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show opened at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) seemingly right on time.

The Happy Show – interactive and at points, vulnerable – is a result of years of Stefan Sagmeister’s research into his own happiness. Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to attend a special event in association with the exhibition: In Conversation: Marian Bantjes and Stefan Sagmeister. Moderated by Mark Busse, the casual conversation was equal parts inspiring and entertaining.

There were many nuggets of wisdom (and hilarity) shared and I wasn’t able to jot them all down, but these were some highlights for me:

  • Creativity and happiness versus practicality
    Bantjes: ‘following happiness’ can sound airy-fairy, but it really means being able to sustain a choice or career path and avoid burnout.
  • The notion or idea of beauty
    Sagmeister: Form and style are more important than ideas. If something is not necessarily witty or clever, but communicates its message beautifully, then it works.
  • Honesty
    Sagmeister: “Everyone who is honest is interesting.” Be as honest and open as possible.
  • Advice to designers for finding happiness
    Bantjes: Get a dog!
    Sagmeister: Leave a notebook next to your bed and write down three things that worked that day.

The Happy Show runs until September 7 and MOV is hosting a series of ‘happy’ events from now until the close of the exhibition (calendar here). I highly recommend checking out this show (and the events too)!