We recently had the opportunity to work on a really fun and creative custom job for Karen who commisioned an Eames-inpsired House of Cards style deck for her husband's 50th birthday. Read on for details from Karen about this amazing project and gift. We hope it will inspire you as much as it did us!
“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.”
John turned 50 on October 10. I wanted to commemorate the milestone and honor him at the same time. I hoped to design something that was personal, relevant to his interests and allowed his friends/family (near and far) to express their wishes, thoughts and memories.
I started by thinking that 50 was really John's mid-century, which was relevant because he has always been drawn to mid-century design and, in particular, to the work of Ray and Charles Eames. I remembered a fund development project that I had been involved with that used the idea of the iconic Eames House of Cards in a similar way. John and I had used the Eames cards to build "houses" with our sons when they were younger and had always enjoyed the connection between the unique nature of the individual cards and the texture that they brought to a single structure, once the cards were combined.
It was a perfect way to allow for the individual contributors to John's birthday project to express themselves in an authentic and unique way, but also combine their efforts to create a vibrant and beautiful structure. Each card representing a part of John's life separately, but being an integral part of the whole. (I've attached the letter of introduction/explanation that I sent out with the cards - which might do a better job of explaining my thinking - I hope anyway).
I commissioned the custom deck because I didn't have the skills to create what I envisioned in my head. I contacted my friend and graphic designer, Carey Portzline, and pleaded for help. She graciously agreed to help me and suggested that we connect with Egg Press (ALWAYS my favorite card "shop") to see what was possible. We decided to create 4 different card designs, each with a common birthday "stamp" on the reverse side. The rest of the card diversity was to come from the creativity of our friends and family. It was a crazy fun project. Everyone was really respectful of the purpose and goal of the project, and seemed genuinely invested in making the idea into an even better reality. I was ecstatic with the outcome. The cards were exactly what I had envisioned - better even.
When the cards were returned, I was overwhelmed. Each one was unique and told a different story. I had a box made (by MADE, Inc) so that we could store the cards once the structure came down and that is how I presented it to John. His response was layered. Surprise (which is huge because very little surprises him), appreciation for the beauty of the cards and the box, wonder and gratitude for all of the people who had taken part in honoring him, and celebrating his mid-century. We also had a lot of fun combining all of the cards into a single "house", which we did in several different combinations.
All in all, it was perfect.