Inspired by Michael H. Hart's book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Montreal-based design firm Paprika created a collection of 100 business cards - one for each individual on Hart's list - to represent a community of influential individuals.
Led by designer René Clément, the ambitious project was completed and distributed as Issue # 10 of Wayward Arts Magazine.
"The business card promotes communication between people and helps build connections. It is a physical representation of the person whose name is on it. This small piece of cardboard is a symbol of links and interactions that take place in the world - a simple visual and a few words sum up the whole picture of a person," explains René. "As such, the business cards included in this collection are each the result of careful thought and creative execution."
Research was an important first step in the execution of this concept to ensure that each unique design would accurately reflect the personality and historical influence of the individual. "Keep in mind that many of the people in the list aren't very well known, and others are very controversial. On top of the challenge to come up with something new for each person, we needed to find out the facts and make sure the information we used was accurate," says René.
To address these challenges, Paprika approached the project from a client perspective. "We treated each person on the list as a real client, each with a unique personality, and focused specifically on his or her career."
The concept for each card was chosen based on creativity, aesthetic look and sustainability. The designs are meant to arouse curiosity while accurately representing the lasting influence of the individuals over time. "All aspects of this project were rewarding. I have a special preference for the Elizabeth I card (the Virgin Queen) for its symbolic quality, but really I love all the cards in the collection," says René.
Many steps were involved in the process of reaching the final creation, which took a lot of time and effort for all involved. "We greatly appreciated Flash's willingness to provide carte blanche for this project - their openness made it possible for us to pursue this extraordinary idea."
In terms of production, each book was manually assembled, which involved collating and individually inserting hundreds of sets of business cards. "It was a time consuming process," says Derek Emerson of Flash. "All told, the full production involved running a quarter million business cards, with unique printing techniques applied to each. Our goal with Wayward Arts is to push design and print boundaries to achieve stunning results and we believe this issue is a resounding success."
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 at waywardarts.ca/subscribe.
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