Heart in Oregon History
The History of the Green Heart in Oregon design.
Brief: "But my heart is here, my heart is in Oregon" ... Chris Bucci March 2003
These were the words an unemployed Chris Bucci said when he pondered leaving Oregon for better work prospects. He then drew the symbols of those words- the outline of Oregon and heart on a napkin.
In-depth: It all started with an internal monologue, a napkin, and a dream.
In 2003, Chris Bucci was unemployed in Oregon with few prospects, making his ability to remain in his adopted home of Portland look bleak. Where would he go? What would he do? His heart was here, his heart was in Oregon. While having an internal debate about his future, a man approached Chris at an outdoor seat, (modern day: Salt & Straw on NW 23rd Ave) and offered Chris an I (heart) Portland stickers for two bucks. Being the sticker lover that Chris is, he bought 3 for $5. This set the gears in motion. He decided, “I’m going to make a sticker with the shape of Oregon and heart in the middle.”
On a napkin, he drew a rough sketch of Oregon with a heart in the center. He knew he was on to something and if he was right, he could continue to live here in Oregon. If it could work here in Oregon, he could get it to work anywhere because everyone loves the place they call home. This is how he planned to live his own pioneering Oregon dream.
So, with his last few hundred bucks, Chris contracted Mary, an Art Institute of Portland graduate to collaborate, and bet his future on 1500 stickers.
He sold exactly ZERO stickers and could not give them away.
When first printed, the stickers were rectangles and not the Oregon shape as we all know and love. Then, a friend said the design would be better if the sticker was cut to the physical shape of Oregon. (Thank you, Diane & Chrisi). That night, he went home and butchered the first sticker to capture the shape of Oregon. Even as mutilated the sticker had become, his friend was right. He began cutting each sticker by hand and they started selling.
The original color of the heart was red until a friend suggested the heart be green because “It’s Oregon.”
Today, Heart in Oregon has sold state-shaped, heart-shaped, custom-cut and MLS (Major League Soccer) stickers throughout the country. They are in small shops, grocery stores, airports, and online retailers nationwide. Our sister company is The Heart Sticker Company if you are looking for all of our other stickers.
It’s not a large business, but it is enough for Chris to still live his dream in his adopted home of Portland, Oregon. Chris dedicates his time to the Heart in Oregon brand, raises his son as a single parent, and still takes time for the things he loves- listening to someone else’s story about the places they love and sharing with them a piece of the place he loves in return.
Here is a exert from Chris on Heart in Oregon Movers and Makers. Tracy Berry of Portland's KGW Movers and Makers short on Heart in Oregon.