Oblique Strategies Hero Mockup

unblock­ing creativity

Our Cups Runneth Over

An unending wellspring of creativity exists inside every human. The times when the wellspring overflows we feel inspired. At times when the wellspring trickles we feel anguished. It is not uncommon for a person to abandon meaningful creative pursuits simply because their wellspring seemingly runs dry. I want to help people tap their eternal creative flow and remain hopeful in the face of creative challenges. I packaged the best tool I know of to do just that.

Card Box Mockup 01
Card Box Mockup 02
Card Box Mockup 03
Card Box Mockup 04
Card Box Mockup 05
A Bit of History

Oblique Strategies is a card series created by two friends, Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. When it was discovered both shared similar approaches to problem solving they decided to catalogue these approaches in a deck of cards. This deck has undergone multiple editions as public interest has waxed over the decades. I do not claim, as mine, the content of the cards merely the packaging.

card beauty shots
Into The Unknown I Ventured

I designed the creation process as an experience of exploratory experimentation. I wanted this project to embody some of the principles put forth in the deck. To start I analyzed the literal meaning of ‘Oblique Strategies.’ Since language is vital in communicating function to ignore any intent behind the phrase ‘Oblique Strategies’ would be folly.

I explored the literal interpretations in sketch form until I hit upon one I liked. The meaning of oblique as non-explicit led me to think about obfuscation or hiding a problem with layers of abstraction. An acid-drenched photo yielded unto me visual inspirational and a process I would implement to arrive at my final solution.

rough sketches overview rough sketches detail inspiration image

The base of my packaging visuals were typographic studies of ‘Oblique Strategies,’ communicating utilizing only letterforms from various typefaces. All stories must begin somewhere and it seemed fitting to begin here.

type studies detail

My intent was to build abstraction into my package visuals by distorting, obscuring, and otherwise totally wrecking the typographic studies I created. To achieve this I transferred my digital studies to artisanal tracing papers held over from my art school days and with a small band of friends I destroyed the papers using whatever imaginative ways we could conceive of. The results were photographed to be brought into and manipulated through Photoshop.

photo collage

From the series of photos I chose fourteen which illustrated my concept and possessed enough visual mystique to arrest a viewer’s gaze. Even though I had completed the difficult part of this project there was still the matter of designing the full packaging. A study of playing card box art revealed an aesthetic spectrum from elaborate to commonplace. I pulled what ideas infused greater life into my packaging design and let the momentum of inspiration propel me through this stage.

I assembled prototype packages from the twelve designs and presented them to my friends for feedback. I inquired as to how well understood the concept was based on the information presented and which boxes were the most visually appealing. This feedback led me to tighten up my language and select one design to produce.

protoype boxes in a line protoype boxes in a grid

I have found an online producer specializing in playing cards packaging to be my manufacturer. Currently I am saving up the funds to produced the quantity I desire.

This website was built by me. Warts and all.