Flash brought together 6 outstanding Canadian design firms who would each design one of the six issues, collectively producing a series that seeks to put Canada, and thus Canadian design, on a world stage. Through surveying 15 decades of Canadian culture, each issue would include timelines and facts about various aspects of Canadian history. The participating studios include Goods & Services, Saint Bernadine, Underline Studio, Paprika, Hambly & Woolley and WAX.
Having these six Canadian design firms bring their varied perspectives to each issue will ultimately produce a series that has the chance to build an intelligent conversation about a Canada's unique and complex history.
"We decided to try something we’ve never done before: create a year-long series devoted to Canada, each issue following a shared size and page count (I know, I know, but hear me out …) explains Rich Pauptit, Wayward Arts Publisher. "At the end of the year, subscribers will enjoy a set of six issues, all fitting into a lovely box, celebrating some aspect of Canadianness."
Issue #1, Cool/Chaud, designed by Goods & Services
The slipcase box that will eventually house all 6 of these issues was developed by Underline Studio, who also designed Issue #3 of the series. Fidel Peña RGD, Underline's Creative Director, told us about the process and final product: “We were excited to be part of this project from the beginning since it seemed like a good opportunity to think critically and constructively about what it means to be celebrating Canada’s 150 years.”
Fidel explains, “The first stage was to choose a design for all 6 spines. It was decided that all of the studios would submit different spine concepts and then we would collectively pick what we felt was most appropriate. We believed from the beginning of the process that the spines should have as little personality as possible. This would help the spines feel coherent with the 6 different covers, while at the same time conveying the sense of the Canadian content within the issues."
"In the selected option, the typeface is Helvetica, to keep it as neutral as possible. We also suggested that the cover image or colour should bleed into the spine while also having a translucent red bar in the bottom third to tie them together visually. This seemed to be the least intrusive way of managing the spine design. Based on the spine concept, we then developed a box that was a clear continuation of the spine design. We wanted this box to feel commemorative and also elegant.”
This print series is also accompanied by a custom site including full French and English versions of content, designed by Canadian brand & digital design firm, Flywheel Strategic.
Dominic Ayre, Creative Director at Flywheel Strategic, explains that the microsite's main objective was to promote this print-based project, "Our challenge at Flywheel Strategic was to create a teaser if you will. It had to give the project overview, inspire interest, and tip to the impact of the books through great images. But with it being a Flash Reproductions project there was of course a mandate to show the power of the printed form so really the site exists for more of an archiving purpose."
"We really wanted to keep the site design in the brand feeling that was created by Underline and Hambly & Woolley’s outer casing. We took elements to tie those pieces into the digital environment. As for taking a visual direction from the individual studio projects we felt strongly that the website should be agnostic. It was much more about pulling the Wayward Arts 150 brand together."
Dominic drives home the fact that this series is about Canada through the eyes of Canadian designers that are arguably looking at the project from very different points of view: "Canada has a worldwide perception but I think this series will, hopefully, look at the stories, both hard, good, uncomfortable and funny, that have shaped/shape who we are. By “we”, I mean each of the Canadian Designers that will touch these books. Wayward Arts 150 will be a product of who each of us, and the studios, are because of the experiences we have lived in Canada."