Art Paul designed the Playboy logo in 1953, which has to be, one of the most recognizable brand symbols ever.
I met Author Paul at an Illinois Arts Alliance fundraising event. The small agency I worked for was awarded the chance to design the prestigious invitations for the ball that was being held in Chicago. Marshall Ross and Jim Gleason, the head creatives at my first agency, Mitchner, Ross, and Partners gave me a chance to design it. Marshall and Jim were always generous that way. I designed it with the guidance of Jim Gleason, who was a tedious craftsman and AD.
After asking many favors from printers and production resources, the invitations were finished and looked fabulous, and it had to be fabulous, because donors of an art foundation were going to see it. It was elaborate, with laser cuttings (which were a new thing back then), and 8 or so colors, including multiple spot varnishes, and multiple pieces and envelopes. It was nice, and the client was very pleased. (I still have it somewhere, I will try and dig it up.).
Since the project was pro bono, the agency didn't get paid, but did get invitations to the event. I'll just say, this kid from Kentucky had never been to something this fancy. We sat at a large round table, and I sat next to an older man with a grey beard. I had no idea who he was, even after he gave me his name. As I threw back free cocktails, our small talk evolved, and he told me that he rarely attended fundraisers.
"So why did you come to this one?" I asked.
He responded, "Because I thought the invitation was different from the ones I usually get in the mail. It was well done, and interesting."
A compliment is a compliment, it felt good when I told him I designed it, but the real charge came when Jim or Marshall later that night told me about Art Paul's accomplishments.
Ok, so I'm not meeting Mother Theresa, but to a rookie AD/designer, that was large, and the story is a superb reminder of how important it is to have face to face meetings with impressive people, or heroes, or industry leaders, etc. It does give you inspiration. For me, at least.
By the way, check out Art Paul's other works, excellent art, design, and typography.