The Favorite Words Project
The Favorite Words Project
What's your favorite word? Book/art installation project that looks at language, people and society through favorite words.
What's your favorite word? Book/art installation project that looks at language, people and society through favorite words. Read more
About this project
In April 2011, we started The Favorite Words Project, a publishing experiment that collects people’s favorite words and publishes them as a “living installation” on bumpers stickers and T-shirts. Why? We wanted a way to celebrate language, to begin a conversation about the importance of words in people's lives, and to see what exactly the community at large was saying through favorite words. And because putting your favorite word on a T-shirt and bumper sticker is an evocative way to communicate attitudes, ideas, opinions, or aspects of your personality to the world. It also makes other people laugh, think, and wonder.
We find that people like this idea. Since April, our inbox has been flooded with favorite words from around the globe, and the installation has been growing beyond anything we imagined. People have sent us “pickles” and “love” and “furkids” and “floccinaucinihilipilification.” They have sent us "dream," "whatever," "meander," "intaglio," and "doofus." We could go on for many many pages.
This makes us very happy, but has also put deep holes in our pockets. Each time someone sends us a word, we print them a bumper sticker with their word on it and a certificate of authorship, and send both out in the mail for free. Our printers were never designed for doing mass mailings; one is not up to the task and the other is threatening to die. We were asking for a $10 donation for the T-shirts, but it turns out people like free things better.
After a year of collecting words, we will compile them in a traditional book that will showcase all the words in one place. Every word will be used, even repeats. We believe as a collection, people's favorite words speak for the society at large, and we want to show what people have to say and why. There are some words that are very popular (“love” and “peace” for example), and when repeated, these words become powerful. Other words seem to be symbols for the people who like them —some are jaded, others are hopeful, silly, warm, smart. Some words are chosen for their sound; others are labels or agendas. People are masters at using words, and all of us people are an interesting group, right now.
We keep close track of the words (a lot of spreadsheet work…), logging in the type, tone, timing, and meaning of each, the frequency of each, and the reason why people have chosen them. All this attention to detail and documentation pays off when we see "lollygag" or "dude" going by on the back of someone's car!
So we started this Kickstarter project for four reasons:
1.To help fund the printing and mailing of the stickers and author certification cards for the remainder of the year through April 2012. We are gladly doing all the labor for free.
2. To buy a new laser printer which is more suited for printing outdoor bumper stickers than our current injet printers.
3.To help fund the printing and marketing costs of the final book.
4. To invite our Kickstarter backers to become official authors of the project by not just giving us money, but by giving us their favorite word, thereby funding and growing the project at the same time.
What's your favorite word?
We define "word" as a single entity which can be found either in the dictionary or which is commonly used as slang in any language. For example, we will use "Whatchamacallit", but we will not use "lovemycat". We also will not use names of people, places, products or businesses.
For Kickstarter Backers: After the project is successfully funded, we will send you a "survey" in which we'll ask your favorite word.
Otherwise, we have been collecting words through our website and at book fairs and such. But we would love to collect words on site at schools, libraries, bookstores, and other venues and events. If you would like us to collect words at your organization or business, please email us.
We make custom-made iron-on t-shirts from home and print the stickers on our home computer using inkjet, all-weather bumper sticker paper.
Support this project
- (60 days)