Every school girl in the 1980s and ‘90s owned Lisa Frank folders, notebooks, pencil cases, coloring books, etc. Classrooms were a sea of technicolor unicorns, animals, hearts, and stars. The company became an iconic part of every girl’s childhood. But what you may not know is that Lisa Frank was an actual person behind the company name.

Starting her business in college

Lisa Frank didn’t just start one of the most popular designer brands of all time, but her story is also inspirational. After all, Frank started her company in the 1970s while she was a college student at the University of Arizona. She studied art and began producing stickers of colorful animals and goodies.

Chris Richards/Arizona Daily Star

But in 1987, Lisa Frank Inc.’s popularity skyrocketed across the United States. Because of the this, artists wanted to collaborate with Frank. These collaborative designs in the late 1980s would become the trademark designs now associated with Lisa Frank.

A pop culture icon

Before 1987, Lisa Frank Inc. would airbrush designs by hand. Each design was drawn and sketched by an artist. Eventually, the brand became so popular that Lisa Frank Inc. switched to using computer software to produce as many technicolor products as possible.

Mental Floss

The production decision must have worked because in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, every school girl couldn’t get enough of the designs.

There’s even a clothing line

Lisa Frank Inc. became so popular that girls wanted to wear her designs. In 2011, the company released a clothing line that featured the same bright colors and characters that decorate Frank’s folders, notebooks, and stickers.

Teen Vogue

At one point, there even was an iPhone app. Frank revealed she would love to make a Lisa Frank theme park. She commented, “Because the world of Lisa Frank really is a world. And I think before I die, we should have the world someplace, not just on paper. I think that would be pretty awesome.”

Perhaps there’s an even more playful and bright future for Lisa Frank.