Delight’s a trickier word to convey via simple graphics. When I thought about images that convey delight to me, I came up with this list: sparkles, smiles, rainbows, confetti, sprinkles, balloons, winks, and surprises. I already had a color lined up for D: orange. It happened to go perfectly with the word!
The word delight lives as both a noun and verb, which well, delights me. The key words in the definition are pleasure, joy, enjoyment and satisfaction. Of those, I’d say I most associate joy with delight.
When I dig into the history and etymology, I learn delight comes from the Latin delectare. A Latin dictionary opens up more wonderful key words with this definition:
- be a source of delight
- charm, lure, entice
- delight, please, amuse, fascinate
I’m geeking out about the word delight because I enjoy being delighted and bringing delight to others. I nearly avoided the word because over a decade ago the phrase “surprise and delight” was co-opted by marketers. I had to deprogram my natural cringe response to its clichéd and uninspired use.
I was also reminded of my love of Deee-Lite which led me to a piece in DJ Mag from last year celebrating the 30th anniversary of the group’s ‘Groove is in the Heart’ release. It was *delightful* to read about the song and the trio (plus Q-Tip!) behind it. Ben Cardew’s writing made me imagine what it must have been like to be in New York’s club scene in the 90s and appreciate how this unlikely song born of an LSD trip and a “patchwork quilt of influences” was able to hit the US airwaves and promote DJ culture.
In my soon-to-be-released newsletter, you’ll find a list of other things that bring me joy.
While it was challenging to come up with an illustration to represent delight, I racked my brain even more in choosing a project.
I thought it would be fun to create Daruma doll-inspired earrings. I envisioned using Adafruit NeoPixels to activate an LED to set a goal on one earlobe and later mark the completion of that goal when the other earlobe would flash on. Ultimately, doing something goal-related didn’t seem so delightful.
A deck of cards also seemed like a good project but I feared I wouldn’t be able to complete it within the sprint time remaining.
While both a Daruma and a deck of cards would have given me bonus points for the extra “D” in the project, I outdid myself by deciding to do a darkly delightful diagram aka a Venn DIEagram.
Weirdly enough, I first thought of the Venn DIEagram concept at work during a team retreat. My manager displayed three overlapping circles where the words started with a D, I, and E so I made the “DIE-agram” joke in that moment. What was merely a passing joke became inspiration for this project and I fleshed out the concept.
I sketched out an initial version to cheer up someone I love who was frustrated with work. I loved the idea of placing a skull and crossbones at the center where the typical sweet spot would be.
The tone of the sketch is harsh and may hit too close to home for some people. In developing a more polished version, I thought about what annoys me and specific sounds from my Brooklyn streets came to mind.
I took a bit of a risk in my approach to the project. While delight often conjures up cute puppies and magical rainbows, it can also found in subversive cross stitching and dark comedies. The phrase “surprise and delight” has become cliché but in many cases, it’s also redundant because surprises are often embedded within delight. Surprises manifest under both light and dark circumstances so why should delight be any different?
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