Snowed under

The Design Week office is once again hidden under a pile of Christmas cards, but Sara Manuelli manages to pick out the most inspiring ones

Yuletide is upon us and if, like me, you don’t subscribe to the tradition of sending Christmas cards out, you will feel rather overwhelmed by the stacks of post that keeps arriving during December. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against seasonal greetings, especially when they allow you to resume contact with a long-lost cousin in New Zealand, but here at Design Week we get rather snowed under avalanches of cards from design consultancies.

I’m afraid Christmas party invitations, festive announcements of annual achievements and over-imaginative advent calendars usually get a quick glance and then end up in a box. No, I didn’t say the bin, it’s just that we don’t have the space to house extra pieces of paper – so in full festive spirit we recycle them.

One set I won’t be giving away easily is the Design Museum’s latest Christmas pack, compiled by the excellent quartet of designers Peter Saville, Marc Newson, John Warwicker and Bruce Mau. A big hooray for Design Museum director Alice Rawsthorn for having made our mantelpiece look more design-savvy this year.

Other festive offerings come courtesy of retailer SCP, which for the second year running is selling New York’s Museum Of Modern Art’s cards. Designs includes cards by illustrator Maurice Sendiak, of Where The Wild Things Are fame, as well as snazzy Modernist-looking collages with Eames chairs and aerodynamic skiers. They remind me of 1950s American films, Bing Crosby, woolly reindeer jumpers and lots of snow.

One design group that has taken matter in its own hands is NB Studio, which over the past couple of years has been producing and retailing its own cards. It produces Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day cards and for any other occasion that requires well-wishing. Its Christmas number is a kit of funny, funky stickers to create a customised card – words such as pudding, grotto and turkey are liberally offered for a sensical or nonsensical seasonal greetings.

For many, Christmas cards are a medium for commercial opportunities and a chance to hook up with clients. Design group Underwired has created for Penguin Group UK a series of e-Xmas cards and a multimedia advent calendar, at www.penguin.co.uk, which will promote a range of Penguin titles as well as sending greetings.

On another front, GR/DD Graphic Research Design and Development has created an on-line Christmas stocking (www. grdd.co.uk/stocking). Stockingfillers include a Flash game and downloadable Christmas wrapping paper. According to its Web page, The Big Bird & Bullets plot reads as: ‘The relatives are coming and you still have to get the food for the Christmas dinner with the help of a high calibre rifle. Cooking Instructions: You have 50 bullets to shoot down all the food needed for Christmas dinner while getting slowly drunk on a bottle of red.’ A good summary of the Christmas experience if you ask me.

The Design Museum Christmas card pack is on sale at the Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1. MoMa cards on sale at SCP, 135 Curtain Road, EC2. NB Studio cards are on sale through Artomatic at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London W1

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