Early on in the talk Tony Chambers explains the thought process behind most cards that are being designed: »The shinier, the heavier, the thicker, the bigger, the better – perhaps a bit bling.« Chambers and his assistants began piling up the invitation cards one by one on a table on stage. Several major fashion labels were included in this extensive review. After showing the first few »stiffy« examples, the speaker suggested that sometimes it is »cooler« to go with a thinner invitation instead. Even for those at Logan Hall who did not immediately recognize the wordplay in the talk’s title, it became quite obvious through Erik Spiekermann’s interjection from the audience, suggesting one would be »getting a floppy« when receiving a very thin letter.Everything from glasses, handkerchiefs, lots of fans and pop-ups to woolly hats, combs and an actual potato – all invitation cards – followed. The audience witnessed a wide range of extravagant examples including prints on leather and others »really pushing the boundary of novelty«. Several times throughout the talk Chambers critically questioned the amount of money spent on some of these fancier cards, wondering whether it could have been spent on something else.
Towards the end of his talk Tony Chambers emphasized examples that were »show-offy but true to the brand« and presented more unconventional, slightly intellectual ideas and approaches that revealed a little more about where the labels come from and what they stand for. Taking on calligraphic and the lettering details applied to several cards Tony Chambers suggests that »in the digital age the hand is more than ever valued«. »It’s the best moment to be a graphic designer and typographer« are the final words of this talk on an overwhelming diversity of stiffies.
By Ferdinand Ulrich