Empathy Penny

Todd Falkowsky of Motherbrand in Toronto approached me to design a … a … well, see, there’s this machine that squishes pennies, just like we used to do on the railroad tracks when we were kids (only it’s safer) and it has the ability to impress a new image into the penny, turning the penny into an oval copper thing. So Todd wanted to get 4 designers to make designs for this machine, and then set the machine out somewhere and give the proceeds (I think it costs $2, plus the penny) to an art studio for street youth.

I just liked the idea of squishing pennies … though, isn’t there a law against this? Doesn’t it come under “defacing the queen” or something?

Anyway, So I thought about what one might conceivably want to have on a copper thing that might mingle with your change in your pocket. Ultimately I decided on “Empathy”, because really that’s all the world needs is a whole lotta empathy, and I imagined that you might look at that Empathy penny from time to time and it might actually influence how you viewed a situation.

Then, for the design, I was interested in putting the “round” back in the distorted penny. Or maybe I’m just into circles right now (yes.)

Where can you get this? Only one location: at the Design Exchange in Toronto.

The three other designers were Douglas Coupland, Burton Kramer and Paul Butler, so if you want my design, make sure you turn the dial to the right position!