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Let’s get personal


This might come as a surprise but making something uniquely yours is actually hard to come by these days. Even in this age of personalization and customization (see NIKEM&Ms – even ketchup labels), it’s not really about creating something personal but buying something personalized. Anybody can get something personalized, but for it to be truly personal, it has to come from you.  And for that you have to use your head. And your hands. And your heart. Clicking a button to select font styles or background colors or clip art just isn’t the same as the creative process of doing it from “scratch” – and by scratch I mean the idea, the design, the color selections, etc. are all yours.   

So let’s get personal. 

When it comes to school supplies, students seems to have a natural proclivity for the personal but I have a couple of theories on that:

Students are often on tight budgets, so they are forced to get inventive with boring school supplies.  And not all parents are inclined to buy “designer” stuff, like backpacks and jeans and sneakers, especially not in these tough economic times.

School is often a sterile environment, with long rows of lookalike lockers, industrial size gyms and uninspiring cafeterias. School is a canvas begging for a splash of color, a brush of ingenuity.

And finally, sometimes there’s a break in the action in class and it’s just fun to doodle and express yourself on stuff!    

I guess this is the long way home to telling you that Office Depot has just launched a contest where you can design your own backpack, enter it in their “Project Backpack” contest and win a chance to have your backpack actually reproduced and sold in their stores (that, and $5,000!).  Go to and enter your design.  


Here’s info but be sure to visit for complete details: 

  • Go to your nearest Office Depot store to pick out the qualifying backpack and select 2 FREE Sharpies to decorate it.
  • Decorate your backpack and take a picture of it. Need inspiration? Visit 
    Fill out the online entry form and upload the image of your decorated backpack.
  • If you do not have a qualifying backpack, there is an alternative way to enter the contest. Simply download the Sharpie Backpack template, decorate it and upload your design.

One of Sharpie’s favorite artists and a member of the Sharpie Squad, Jon E. Nimetz  got busy with his design. Mind you this guy is an AR-TEEST, so his is pretty fancy. You don’t have to be good, just good enough. I like his Peace dove. It has heart, just like anything that is truly your own personal expression…