The American Institute of Graphic Arts’ (AIGA) Valentine’s Day Grams are back.

Courtesy photo.

The second annual valentines are available for purchase in the University Union (UU) Plaza and outside Campus Market until Feb. 9.

Each Valentine Gram includes a handmade origami flower, a rose and a card, which are delivered by two “cherubs” — men dressed in red spandex unitards and tighty-whities with wings. The cherubs will ride anywhere on campus on their tandem bike to deliver the valentines.

A flower and card cost $10, but the valentine can be upgraded to a bouquet of three flowers for $12.

The event is the product of a joke brought up in an AIGA meeting, said art and design graduate Sara Hamling.

“It sounded fun to put on an event that wasn’t just the boring candy and flowers,” she said. “We’re mixing it up.”

Former president of AIGA and art and design graduate Adam Wirdak said the project emerged out of a need for money that turned into a creative, silly idea that got everyone excited.

“It sounds weird, but I really wasn’t embarrassed,” he said. “You can’t be afraid if you came up with the idea.”

Wirdak and current AIGA President Brice Tuttle said that despite the inherent humiliation in riding around campus in unitards, they hardly felt self-conscious on their tandem bike.

“We make people laugh,” Tuttle said. “There’s nothing embarrassing about that.”

Tuttle said the Valentine Gram process includes flowers, chocolates, public embarrassment of the recipient, Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” on repeat and a poem cleverly crafted by the men in red.

“Walking into the business silo was probably the best delivery,” Wirdak said. “Thoroughly embarrassing some guy in front of 200 people is pretty unforgettable.”

The grams are delivered to students during their class, which Hamling said went over surprisingly well with professors.

“Most teachers were really OK with it,” she said. “But they were mostly art professors, so they knew what was going on.”

One of the main goals for the Valentine Grams this year is to expand outside the art and design department. Last year, art and design students who worked to support their department purchased most of the grams. This year AIGA is advertising heavily on Facebook, in the UU Plaza and at Campus Market to promote their fundraiser.

“We want students all over campus to see us,” Tuttle said. “I mean, who doesn’t want to see us riding around practically naked?”

Tuttle laughed at the idea of enjoying being a “cherub,” but said he enjoyed playing Cupid for a few days.

“I know it’s weird, but I’m really glad we’re doing this,” he said. “It’s creative, it’s funny and not a lot of unordinary stuff happens on campus. I’m really happy that I’m part of it.”

Tuttle estimated that he will spend more than 12 hours making deliveries (and mockeries) this February.

Valentine Grams are sponsored by the Cal Poly chapter of the AIGA, which works to introduce graphic design students to the professional world of design. The money raised from the Valentine Grams will go toward speakers and workshops that AIGA puts on throughout the year.

Wirdak said he sees the Valentine Grams being very successful this year after the hype of last year. AIGA’s goal is to make $600, which would be a 700 percent profit.

“They have the potential to make a ton of money this year,” Wirdak said.

Tuttle said he can’t wait to see how the Grams play out and expand this year, and hopes they can become a well known tradition on campus.

“This is fun, this is creative — this is something Cal Poly should keep up,” he said.

The cherubs and members of AIGA will be out and about near Campus Market and UU Plaza until Feb. 9, and deliveries will be Feb. 10, 11 and 14.

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7 Comments

    1. Thanks Mai-Chi, I double-checked the spelling on Adam Wirdak’s name and found you were correct. The article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling.
      -Caitlyn, copy editor

  1. What a hilarious idea! Bravo to the members of the Cal Poly AIGA Student Group for bravely wearing those bodysuits to raise funds.

    This is a great example of AIGA’s wildly imaginative student groups, who are active on campuses across the U.S. For more info on the parent org and local chapters check out aiga.org/about.

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