Monday, December 29, 2008

Fresh Kills Doesn't Know What It's Missing

We only sent out around 800 cards this year. Depression, and everything.

Usually we're in the 2,000 to 3,000 range.

It cuts deep to soul when the holiday season winds down and we only have a handful of cards in return.

Maybe it's the digital era. We get double this in "e-mail cards". Ebneezer Scrooge had a lot of good ideas (at the beginning of the book), I'm sure he'd fully "Bah Humbug" the e-card.

He'd probably give a hearty "Harumph!" to the posted card as well, but even I'm not that heartless.

I am heartless enough to critique the cards, though. Here are some of this year's best.

For the first few days this was the front runner for the grand prix.

This is from François Chambard, the industrial designer. I worked with his wife Kathleen when I was in college (she's a polyglot!).

Three things I like: 1) It's designy in a clever way. The iconography form an image associated with the season with being literal. Smart. 2) Great production. No banding in the red gradient. Offset print by high quality printer. 3) Restrained. We're in the midst of an economic mess. There's no showiness to this card. Overall an appropriate and beautiful card.

And a fourth. It reminds me of Folon.

Dave Levy gets a nod for his clever card. Clearly a result of his recent batch of submissions to The New Yorker, this one should have made it into the magazine.

If you can't read it, the caption says "It's hard to be jolly when you're only employed one day a year."

Mitch Friedman gets the weirdest card award. Maybe this shouldn't count because it's not holiday themed. It did come in with the cards, and is the only one that won't be in the landfill next week.

That's his real hair.

"Bunny and Cat" signed Linda and Jeremy Beck's card.

In some ways its fortunate Bunny and Cat were only pictured in silhouette (nice touch). If this card were any cuter it would get its own wing of the zoo.

Here's a case of successful irony. The card plays on 1950's magazine advertising and Donna Reed visions of the happy American family, it also nods to the tradition of family photo cards. Obviously, that's tongue-in-cheek. It works because its open, its happy. It displays a joy and a love that can only be spread through the U. S. Postal Service.

Joey Ahlbum.

This year, some of the old stand-bys came through again.

Phil Marden.

Both of these cards are digital prints. Joey Ahlbum's card uses toothed paper stock to hide the print process.

Phil Marden's card minimizes color and simplifies line to keep from taxing the limits of his print process.

Lizzy McGlynn and Mark Reilly sort of "bit" our idea to do block cuts. Of course, we might not have thought of it if not for "All About Prints" which we worked on with Lizzy. So they get a pass.

Simple, handcrafted, classic design. A card you can send to your 7 mass a week Grandma, or your anarcho-syndicalist Nephew.

The best card of the year (maybe I should drag this out into another post) was determined by committee.

The staff agreed that a longtime card champion -an aged hero, as it were -once again grabs the ring.

We're not fans of the photo-print, in general. But once again, Tony Eastman makes it work. "Econo Christmas". Clever, festive, appropriate, original.

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