Monthly Archives: August 2013

Blog post | The graphic design of Christmas

One of our oldest and most cherished traditions here at Drum is the annual Christmas card design. We see these as an opportunity to come up with something that prods the envelope of the design language of Christmas.

Six years of Christmas.

Six years of Christmas.

Now that we’ve been running for six years we decided it might be fun to do a quick roundup of the evolution of the Drum Christmas card. How has the design style developed, what will the future hold?

 

Year One: The petroglyphs.

Year one: The petroglyphs.

This was the Christmas of 2007 card. We were a fresh faced startup company and were experiencing the weird sensation of rolling along without stabilisers for the first time. We were insanely busy (nothing’s changed there thankfully) and Kaye was driving Stewart and I forward without mercy. Our studio was makeshift. We had a wooden flooring sample on blocks as a coffee table (later upgraded to garden furniture), and our chairs were instruments of torture. But like all good startups we appreciated the need to get the job done first and spend money on the furniture later. This Christmas card represents this primordial epoch by depicting the antlered studio workforce being relentlessly driven forward by a fearsome Creative Services deity, represented as prehistoric petroglyphs etched into the bare rock with primitive tools. The logo is set on a white tag from the top of the artboard, a design solution later adopted by Unilever.

 

Year two: the creative brief.

Year two: the creative brief.

Year two, 2008. This card reflects the inner workings of our now well-oiled studio system. The design is the creative brief for the Christmas card itself, photographed in the designer’s actual sketchbook, on his actual desk. Poking fun at the creative process is always rewarding and we think this design captures a certain idiotic quality quite well, particularly as it must be viewed standing on its end, facing the wrong way.

 

Year three: Bird Psychologies.

Year three: Bird Psychologies.

Year three, 2009. Possibly the design that has caused the most bafflement, a fact that this designer is quite proud of. Having spent all year creating designs that aim to communicate simply, effectively and clearly; designing something wilfully puzzling is like a holiday, a breath of fresh air and gin and tonic all rolled into one. Although perhaps verging on the obscure we felt there was something there for everyone – Christmas embodied in the psychology of the turkey.

 

Year Four: The Christmas kit.

Year four: The Christmas kit.

Year four, 2010. Everyone’s Christmas is different and yet there are certain components that make Christmas what it is. We aimed to represent that thought with a Christmas kit. Did we miss anything? This design was notable in that the card contained a Courvoisier wielding Christmas golem, constructed from the parts on the front of the card – you could pull him out and stand him up on your desk.

 

Year five:  Christmas production.

Year five: Christmas production.

Year five, 2011. This design reflects our year five status as a fully fledged production company. Borrowing from the language of industrial processes we created an automated production line that produces the perfect Christmas. In the form of a nugget. This is one of our most popular designs and to date is the only one that makes use of conventional Christmas motifs – the reindeer and elves being fed into the machinery.

 

Year six: A concentrated dose of Christmas.

Year six: A concentrated dose of Christmas.

Year six, 2012. This card represents a delivery system for a concentrated dose of Christmas. The full Christmas hit, no messing about. Some would shy away from the use of a veterinary syringe as a metaphorical device, but not us. We felt it conveyed the industrial force of our year six Christmas celebrations quite accurately.

I’ll return to this post with cards of future Christmases – in the meantime, which is your favourite year?