Behind the project


It’s wonderful how information goes around and comes around. I just came across a review to my design of Creneau’s Xmas Card — In Gold We Trust — on the blog Design Context. Amazing to realize how people perceive and receive your work:

Strengths: Gold stock is really special, the whole production of this thing screams professionalism and authority. The serif face also works really well, I’m not sure if I’d like the type printed by the long serifs really lend themselves to being embossed. The wax seal is a really great idea, something I’d like to have a go at myself with my own design. The little geometric motif on the inside is also really nicely constructed and the gold ink tying it all together.
Weaknesses: The production of of this card in undeniably flawless but even thinking about the cost of this thing scares me it must have been so much to get made. It just hope it was effective enough to warrant the price.”

Tom Pratt captures the essence behind what’s being communicated. So, through graphic design the card truly fulfills its purpose. This made me smile and think about the true story behind the project.

This was in fact option B to Creneau Xmas Card’09, as the first one would imply a costly production by the belgian based design agency. This card would be the project’s low cost version and it had to be done in 2 days to be able to get into production — it was little more then one week before Christmas. The agency biggest concern was to communicate to both clients/partners in the Middle East and Western World, as in past years a few designs were lost in translation not being able to reach the Middle East market. So I was set out to create a design that would be transversal, non-offensive to certain sensibilities, but still had the “Ideas of the Anti-Ordinary” agency’s stamp.

In Gold We Trust communicates one unifying idea of trust and confidence, to resonate Creneau’s credibility. Gold as a symbol of power, wealth, perfection is a store of value. It so happens Middle Eastern gold is very valuable and a highly beneficial long term investment.
It would be imperative to convey this message in a simple, clear manner that would come out powerful. The production of the card would have a leading role to its finishing. Gold foil paper, gold ink, embossing and the wax seal enrich the project and help convey the message.

A classic type choice to the motto sentence would make a great contrast to the implementation of its translation into Arabic calligraphy. Having resistance from the agency’s Dubai office to get the translation done — referring they would prefer not to includ it due to past mistakes in translations — I got in touch with Jordanian designer Hadi Alaeddin through the Behance Network. In short notice, Hadi was ever so kind to agree in collaborating to the project with the beautiful Arabic calligraphy. I felt this detail would absolutely make the difference and would reach out to people. This simple touch already made both worlds connect. Still, a few people in the agency, even though they trusted me, were questioning the accuracy of the translation.

The card went to print and a few members of Creneau’s team joined me at the communal lunch table applying the hot wax seal to 500 cards, just in time to be sent out before Christmas!
It was my delight when I approached Creneau’s cleaning lady — who happened to be Muslim and spoke very little english — and she smiled at me with her eyes lightened up, as she was able to read the text. Here is when the work is done — we’re communicating!

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