1. What problem does XOX! solve?
The whole idea of creating XOX! Share the Love was born of my strong desire to try to help heal the negative divisions in our world and country. As an artist, I wanted to find a way to have people come together through art and play, which are proven to help improve our mental health and feed our creativity. My self-directed task was to make something beautiful, smart, and engaging to help bring people together positively. I wanted them to connect with each other in the spirit of fun and friendly competition to help counteract all of the stress everyone has been under.
I created an elegant and colorfully designed game made with X’s (kisses) and O’s (hugs) that comes in a pizza box for take-in and take-out play. The game pieces are like little sculptures that feel good as people hold them in their hands as they play the game. They are very tactile! And the game is visually and intellectually stimulating!
The game itself is easy to learn yet challenging to master. XOX! Share the Love® puts people’s strategic prowess and visual awareness to the test. The goal is to populate as many rows on the board as possible, racking up points while blocking the opponent. They can play it one-on-one or in 2 teams of two. It’s perfect for game night at home with family and friends. Or they can take it with them to parties, coffee bars, or anywhere they like to hang out and have fun. It’s made to go!
2. Tell us about the founder. What is their background?
Conceptual Artist, Creative Director & Designer Lynn Herring’s artistic work is influenced by her love of design, sculpture, and conceptual art.
In 2016, Advertising Creative Director & Visual Artist Lynn Herring took a break from her ad career and sold her dream home in Woodstock, NY, to attend graduate school at SUNY New Paltz. Her desire was to augment her highly accomplished and decades-long conceptual art practice in sculpture and printmaking. Her goal was to find a way to use art and sculpture to help heal our world somehow.
As Herring enrolled in her courses at that time, she felt deeply disturbed by the divisions in our culture and was committed to finding a path forward to help bring people back together in an artistic, healthy, positive, fun, and loving way.
During that first year of her studies, Herring crafted brightly colored and organically shaped wood Xs and Os. She kept asking herself, “Why am I doing this? I gave up my home to make Xs and Os?”. Never one to give up on the artistic practice, she trusted the process and continued to hold the intention of bringing people together through art.
When the second year rolled around, her research led to devising a beautifully designed artistic game. Strategy, purpose, contemporary aesthetics, a sense of fun, smart rules, and a good challenge were the most important elements Herring was working with. She constructed a complex and wonky-shaped game board to go along with her Xs and Os.
Three years later, she created a sculptural game rooted in Tic Tac Toe’s origins, which was far more fun and challenging to play, and held the interest of adult players. She likes to call it Tic Tac Toe on steroids. Even though XOX! is far more interesting and strategic than Tic Tac Toe, it is easy enough to learn and has appealed to many people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
XOX! Share the Love® is an artistic and sculptural game that people love to look at, touch, and play. Now anyone can purchase XOX! and Share the Love with family, friends, and the community!
“I have been surrounded by people who have supported me with extraordinary kindness and generosity to help launch XOX! The original idea of making an art piece that brings people together in a positive, healthy, and loving way has been mirrored back to me repeatedly during the entire process of creating XOX! That positive spirit is now living in each one of the XOX! Share the Love games.” – Lynn Herring
3. How did they come up with the idea?
I envisioned doing something big when I enrolled in graduate school in 2016. I didn’t quite know what that big thing would be, but I knew I wanted to do something to help our culture somehow. As an artist, I was asking myself the question: what can I do to make a difference? Can visual art be something that brings people together rather than as a wall piece that people stare at one-on-one?
With those questions, I began an exploratory using text and color. I started playing with X’s and O’s, Asterisks, and Hashtags. I was using letters that also had multiple symbolic meanings. I went from 2-D paintings and printmaking to creating wood sculptures of these forms. The process of creating XOX! Took me about three years to develop the idea, study game theory, and test my prototypes inside and outside the walls of academia.
Once the idea was tested, tweaked, and well thought through, I was on a journey to manufacture it. That process took another couple of years, and the pandemic didn’t help! Finally, with an investor to help, we took samples to the NY NOW gift show and won “Best of Market” and “Best Product in Home Design.” That was so exciting! Meanwhile, we got the first 500 sets manufactured and are in the process of getting them out to our people who pre-ordered and to our boutique shops that have ordered as well!
4. How can this transform the world or our day-to-day lives?
I did a lot of research on play, creativity, and mental health. It turns out that even adults NEED to play to be happy and to have their minds and creativity flourish. Color and aesthetics can also make a big difference in our lives and help us to feel a sense of well-being.
5. What do customers love most about the product?
People tend to love the design and the tactile sense of the game pieces as much as they love playing the game.
Here are a couple of testimonials from my customers in their own words:
I cannot express how fun and engaging XOX Share the Love game has been with our family
and friends. The beautiful and vibrant colors and interesting shapes of the X-O pieces make an
artistic display and conversation piece on my table. It has brought us together to not only
challenge each other’s minds, but also laugh and just spend quality time together. There isn’t
any other game like this, and I love when people come into our home, and the first thing they say
when they see it is, “That is so cool! How do you play the game?”
Thank you for creating a fun and unique game!
Karen – Chicago, IL
“I first played XOX at NY NOW 2022 in NYC. I lost. It was
immediately apparent even one extra row increases the
complexity of the game geometrically. The look and feel of the
game pieces — the aesthetics, the craftsmanship — are half the
enjoyment. Fun to play, and it’s an intriguing objets d’art in my
home. Visitors see it and are drawn to it.”
Dave — Kingston, NY
6. Where can people get this product? Please include some images for us to include as well.
XOX! Share the Love® can be ordered online at www.xoxsharethelove.com
It’s also available at these exclusive shops:
MVN Design, Kingston, NY
BeBe’s Boudoir, Colombia, MD
Mix it Up, Home Gallery & Gifts, Coer D’Alene, ID
Matted, Long Island City, NY
And more retailers to come soon!