The 52 Shades of Greed Project
52 Shades of Greed is a fully illustrated deck of playing cards brought to you by 2 art directors, 28 artists, and the 99%. The 52 Shades of Greed art directing team, Marc Scheff and Daniel Nyari, are NYC-based illustrators who wanted to create a unique collaboration between illustrators of all stripes and levels of fame to say something important about the world. They believe that illustrators can be teachers engaged in politics and social welfare. They believe that we can become more than individuals and more than servants to other peoples’ messages. They gathered an art team from all over the world to contribute to the 52 Shades of Greed project, and could not be more pleased with the result.
Could you tell our readers a little about the project and what inspired you to create it?
First off, I’m extremely happy and proud to claim that this was really a group effort from start to finish.
The Alternative Banking group needed some illustrations for a deck of cards they wanted to hand out on #S17, their big anniversary day of action. The concept was that of a “stacked deck” where every card had a person, institution, or financial instrument that was doing more harm than good. They initially approached Marc Scheff to create several illustrations for it.
When he approached me to come on board, I did not know what to expect apart from possibly assisting with the design of the cards themselves. We began to speak in depth about what a great opportunity this was for us to get involved indirectly in the movement but more so what great potential this had if we approached it from a larger perspective. I threw out the idea of multiple artists working on these concepts. Now, keep in mind, we had an extremely limited time frame for this project but the thought of creating something that was inclusive of informative material but could also function as a collaborative art project between creatives across the world was too enticing. When we put the call out, the response was overwhelming. Suddenly the project became much bigger, and much more inspiring.
We decided to fundraise to pay for the production of the cards, and when we started talking about it we found a lot of folks who were interested in a story like this. It is a story with lots of angles. It is about Occupy, certainly, but it is also about collaboration between illustrators of all stripes and levels of fame to say something important about the world. It showcases artists as teachers who are engaged in politics and social welfare, much more than servants to other peoples’ messages. For us it is also about the incredibly inspiring process of coming together to create a unique and beautiful art object. We found ourselves called to reach out to more media sources and tell them about the project.
The project really evolved over time and that time was in just 1 week! I am incredibly proud of our artists, and the Alternative Banking team, for stepping up so fast when it became clear we could do something great.
Tell us a little about yourself and your co-creator Marc Scheff.
Marc is a New York based freelance Illustrator, Art Director, and Entrepreneur who loves making big work with lots of people. I am similarly a freelance Illustrator and Designer, originally from Romania, transplanted to Austria and finally New York City.
How did you chose which artists to collaborate with and how was the curating process?
Between Marc and myself we have a pretty wide network and were able to reach out to many of the people there for this project. We were fortunate to find this group who were willing to work with the crazy deadline, and the quality of the pieces just blew us away. We have no hesitation about immediately hiring any of them again because we know they can come through.
More importantly both Marc and I have experience in Web and Print Design, which allowed us to have total control of the project from start to finish and fully manage its branding and all aspects of our marketing.
The Alternative Banking Group was also extremely helpful in providing us with concepts and copy. We really had the right balance of professionals and the working hierarchy that allowed us to tackle this within the short time frame.
We also worked with a lot of experts and advisers including from RocketHub. One great tip we received was to create an internet event, and get all our networks to push the project and our hash tags all at once. Getting commitments from various news sources and big tweeters really helped get us moving. The internet rewards large, sudden changes in activity. So if we did a slow build, gathering momentum, we would not have received the attention we got. Occupy never trended on Twitter for exactly this reason, the slow buildup isn’t rewarded. By creating a spike, going from zero to lots of action very quickly, we were able to create a buzz and buzzes tend to turn into roars.
How has the response been since you showcased the project?
It has been overwhelming to be honest. We reached our campaign goal within 48 hours and we are still going strong on RocketHub. We have offered dozens of enticing rewards that have really helped us raise the profile of the project. We don’t want to give too much away but we are excited about the momentum we have picked up, largely because of the other doors it opens creatively. Suffice to say, we have so much more in store for everyone.
Since Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster for Barack Obama, there seems to be much more of an importance for politicians to seek out good design for their branding and political flyers. What do you see for the future of relationships between politicians and designers and what sort of design trends do you see happening in the future for politically based designs?
2008 marked an important step for branding as a major player in politics. We are all familiar with Obama’s Logo. In the digital age, I think more politicians (or their teams) are more aware that their messages will travel not only by ears and tongue but also through visuals. Identity is a visual language – the most important in immediately identifying who you are and what you stand for. In an age where we are over-saturated with imagery, having the right visual representation is crucial in making that first immediate impact. Depending on the quality of the image, you’re either sold or not or at least hooked enough to pursue the message.
The more integrated with social media campaigns become the more we are exposed to their visual representation so we will be seeing far more specialized branding. I wouldn’t be surprised if campaigns begin to hire illustrators and designers to come up with strategic designs. That certainly has the potential to be a game-changer for us all, won’t it?
Below are some highlights from the project
The Artists Involved
- Adam S. Doyle
- Alex Fine
- Chi Birmingham
- Chris B. Murray
- Corinne Reid
- Daniel Nyari (& Art Director)
- Denman Rooke
- Dobot (Logan Faerber)
- Eric Fortune
- Gloria Pizzilli
- Hyesu Lee
- Jess Worby
- John Lee
- Jon Burgerman
- Jonathan Calugi
- Justin Volz
- Kyle Smart
- Matt Rota
- Marc Scheff (& Art Director)
- Martin Wittfooth
- Michael Marsicano
- Mikkel Sommer
- PJ McQuade
- Skip Sterling
- Stephanie F. Scholz
- Steve Simpson
- Tim Paul
- Vicky Yarova
If you want updates about 52 Shades of Greed Project, you can check the following links
- 52 Shades of Greed
- Where you can fund the project: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/10224-52-shades-of-greed
- Also, check out #52ShadesOfGreed on twitter to keep up with updates and anything else related to the project.