The art of the intelligent New Year’s card.

February 15, 2013 - Paris

Late December, sometimes early January (late, in my case) is the time when most professionals "have" to produce a New Year's eve card. Why is that? In reality, wishing a good new year to our clients' list is quite secondary in this exercise. The new year's card is an alibi to shine, the new year's card is an exercise in creativity with no brief, and therefore an opportunity to remind our clients that: a, we are still here and b, very talented.

Sadly today the New Year's cards have become mainly an online exercise, bringing the whole "let me stand out in the eye of my audience" concept to an end. If only to get attention again, i would recommend reverting to sending "things": a post card, a poster, a paper airplane, anything that might stand out among the rest of the mail (i.e. bills).

This year, the very best New Year's "card" i received came from Laurel Parker, a bookbinder with whom I’ve worked over the years -mainly on the “Trimester Prints” project-. As soon as I opened the envelope, I was struck by the care with which the “object” was wrapped. First a wrapping paper, then some white cardboard –with a piece of red tape which said “Fragile”-, protecting what turned out to be a blank hand bound book. Ok, a hand bound book as a communication tool for a book binder makes sense (had I not sent photos?...). Then you open the book and discover its true pertinence: the inside of both covers act as on lengthy colophon for the project, listing the provenance of every little part of its making: the paper for the front cover is made with leftovers from this project, the leather for the back cover is from that project, etc… Everything is identified and linked to a specific project, which turns the object into an actual résumé of the past year, and a glamorous one at that (clients range from Vuitton to Dora Garcia, as represented at the Venice Biennale), but also hints at the accessibility to students (one graduation project provided the white cardboard protecting the book), as well as indicates the hiring of a new collaborator in the adventure.

In a nutshell this project said: here is what I can do, and here is who I’ve done it with recently (both high end and accessible): do you want to play too?

The final touch is that this object turns out to be an edition of 100 copies (I got #82), which also indicates that you are one of the select few who deserve such care, intelligence and attention. I loved it.

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