1. Deck of Student-designed Playing Cards Gives a Strong Hand to ICON5 Attendees

    By Bob Wagner
    Vice President, Creative Services Business and Premier Partners, Xerox Corporation
    When a smiling Democratic donkey is poised to shake hands with a happy Republican elephant, odds are you’re witnessing a high-stakes card game. A new deck illustrated by 52 students from four art schools commemorating ICON5 increases those odds. The reason: the five of clubs carries an illustration by Jamie Stroud, a May 2008 graduate of the Master of Art in Illustration program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, showing the two party symbols about to engage in a forelimb grip.

    As a top-tier “Partner Sponsor” of ICON5, July 2 to 5 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, Xerox Corporation worked in partnership with ICON5 to produce the deck of cards as a commemorative gift for the 400 or so illustrators expected to attend. ICON5 organizers arranged for top students from three New York design schools — the Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts — and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, to contribute their original illustrations and designs.

    To develop the cards, each school was assigned one suit — clubs (FIT), diamonds (MICA), hearts (Parsons) and spades (SVA) — and the school’s chairpersons or deans overseeing illustration programs selected 13 students to provide card designs.

    To produce the cards, Xerox engaged Tucker Printers, Henrietta, N.Y., a Consolidated Graphics Company (www.tuckerprinters.com) and a member of the Xerox Graphic Arts Premier Partners, a global network of more than 730 leading digital print providers. Rendered in Adobe InDesign CS3, the cards were printed on a Xerox iGen3Æ 110 Digital Production Press, on Xerox 100 lb. Elite Gloss Cover, laminated with an Autofeeds, Inc. laminator and die-cut on a Busch high-die die cutter. The box also was printed on the Xerox iGen3 press, on 18 pt. Xerox Folding Board, showcasing the power of digital color printing in short-run packaging applications.

    Here’s what some of the people involved with the project had to say about it:
    "As illustrators, we don’t go to an office everyday, so ICON5 is a great opportunity to be around people who do what we do, to talk about trends and issues and to get re-inspired. It’s important for ICON5 to use projects like the deck of cards to engage our future attendees. And for the students, it’s a great opportunity to get exposure to a few hundred of the world’s top illustrators, designers and others who can influence their careers. And from an academic perspective, the project fits well with contemporary educational models of blending creativity and professional development. It gave students creative freedom and realistic deadlines."
    Whitney Sherman, President of ICON5
    Chair of the Illustration Department, MICA
    "I like producing works that are usable, and I also like playing cards — plus this project is a great opportunity for exposure. I do a lot of pattern design, and I have an interactive website where I generate patterns based upon basic questions like, what is your favorite color? I pulled a pattern I liked from that project and worked with it to better fit the diamonds theme."
    Jessica Neil, Designer of the Nine of Diamonds
    Junior Designer, Spur Design, LLC
    "The ICON5 playing cards are an example of the inspired work that’s possible when educators, grass-roots professional organizations and technology industry leaders team up to showcase the dynamic talents of tomorrow’s illustration stars. It’s also another fine example of how digital color presses are successfully reproducing some of the most demanding illustration and design work being created today."
    Bob Wagner, Vice President
    Creative Services Business and Premier Partners, Xerox Corporation