"We work with Flash on a regular basis and were eager to be involved with Wayward Arts," says Michaela Jantoska, Partner and Creative Director at The Workhouse.
"Based on what we saw from previous issues, we knew we had big shoes to fill. We pitched quite a few ideas to Flash and kept backtracking and changing our minds (our issue was really close to being all about shoes!). They were extremely patient and always available to let us talk their ears off about our ever-evolving ideas."
For the final concept, The Workhouse team gravitated toward the idea of society's preoccupation with fate and fortune. "The future has become a cultural obsession; people seek answers to questions about our existence and the unexplained. Horoscopes, numerology, tarot cards and psychic readings — these channels exist with a promise of insight into the unknown. When we approached Flash with the idea to create an over-sized tarot card deck, they were instantly excited to help make it happen, helping us choose the right format and paper stock."
The next challenge was developing content that would further enhance the theme. "Typography is something that we were drawn to right away; its rich history and crafted nature proved to be a huge source of inspiration."
To link the supernatural format with the world of design, the team began drawing symbolic parallels between typefaces and traditional tarot characters (Magician, Temperance, Lovers, Death, etc.), which are illustrated through unique visuals collaged together using pieces of vintage etchings.
"The final 12 illustrated cards are carefully paired with typefaces that embody the characteristics of the tarot. Part of the magic of this issue will be for people to find the hidden meanings and metaphors within each card. We hope people will find humour in each of the characters' stories."
Using lenticular production methods provided an opportunity to explore the concept further. "Talking through the science behind the animation of lenticulars with Ian at Flash left us intrigued. We learned that we could strip away the plastic from the lenticular and create what’s called a “scanimation”; a novel technique creating the illusion of animating an image."
Through scanimation, multiple sets of animation frames are combined into a single graphic image. When a piece of acetate made up of fixed-width black bars passes over the image, it creates the illusion of movement.
"It was a challenge to figure out the exact science and technical process, but after many attempts we were able to create a series of 12 icons to feature on the back of our cards."
Typoccult Trailer // Wayward Arts from The Workhouse on Vimeo.
"Bringing soul to each of the characters was a fun exercise that had us researching typographic archives, making connections between fonts and tarot card personalities, crafting new and unique archetypes. The whole team would come together and brainstorm how to link the factual with the visual and mystical meanings behind each card. We used spicy metaphors and digs in referencing design culture to bring humour to the theme. The character designs, scanimation symbolism and character descriptions all work together to tell a unique story."
"This project couldn’t have come together without Flash Reproduction’s amazing dedication and quality craftsmanship. Both Flash and Unisource championed our idea from the very beginning, and pulled out all the stops to make our Wayward Arts issue something truly unique. We couldn’t be happier with the results, it was an obsessive (appropriately so) labour of love."
Click here for more on The Workhouse's 'Typoccult' issue of Wayward Arts.
About Wayward Arts
Wayward Arts is a monthly publication printed by Flash Reproductions, with paper provided by Unisource Canada in conjunction with their mill suppliers. A different design firm is invited to curate each issue, changing the design, layout, colours, mood and paper to reflect their interpretation of the year’s over-arching theme.
Copies can be obtained by request by emailing
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