A good day. The Artefact Shop launched, a private offering to the mailing list. People bought things. Solved some problems. More very interesting work on the horizon. Played pirates in the park with the wee fella for a bit. Our second child arrives in two weeks, if dates are to believed. All go, but slowly winding down.
A good day.
Everywhere you look, people are reusing old church pews. From cafes like the excellent Wild & Coffee on New Oxford Street (which was renamed from ‘WIld and Wood’ for reasons I know not), to these ones I found in the new kids play area at Spring Bank Farm in Lewes today.
It’s interesting that the infrastructure and material culture of religion is outliving the ‘business model’, as it were. From converted buildings to reclaimed furniture, it’s all stuff that was built by a belief that the business would never fail, never falter. Those seats were built for generations of arse-covering, as it were.
How many businesses are being built to last nowadays? Is there perhaps something in the fabric of what you create that fuels success? If everything about your business feels like it’s built to last, feels like it’s something the people behind it believe in, does that seep through to customers?
There’s nothing like an idle walk around a car boot sale to get a sense of a our shift in consumption over the past decade or so.
There’s nothing inherently valuable, just the things that are on the edge of having value. They live or die by a pound coin rattling around in somebody’s pocket.
There are lots of CDs and DVDs most notably. Hanging around like former high-class prostitutes who’ve lost their looks to time and use, and must ply their trade on a street corner somewhere. Or a dusty car park, more fittingly.
It’s strange seeing the trappings of high end entertainment design, crafted on old macs somewhere in California, peeking out from dusty plastic sleeves.
And to think that a decade ago, even today for some people, we’d throw a whole bunch of fivers at just one disc.
What’s going to populate the rickety trestle tables in another decade, I wonder?
The boy picked up some Moshi Monsters cards spontaneously in the shop yesterday. I want to dig a little more into the history of them, but my vague awareness is that they started simply as a kids online thing, but have increasingly become a physical brand as time progressed. It’s interesting to think of digital realms as a testing ground for a physical world you want to build.
It’s all go on Artefact Cards at the moment. There was the excitement of the new cards last week, and now, a new logo…
The logo was designed by Michael Wallis of CorkeWallis, who’ve been keen and brilliant testers of the Artefact prototypes. I’m hugely grateful to Michael for putting his hands to this, I’m delighted with how it looks. Thank you Michael.
Production & packing starts next week down in Axminster. If you think you want one of the first limited edition sets, or want to be kept up to date with the project, then please do remember to sign up to the mailing list:
Artefact is a project I’ve been cooking up for nine months since starting Smithery. I’m delighted to say it’s very nearly ready.
It is a card-based thinking system. They help you organise ideas on your own, create new ideas with others, and tell stories about ideas.
Overly fifty testers have been putting them through their paces, and they’ve proven very useful for everything from creating user journeys and mobile apps to telling stories on a stage, designing organisation training programs and pitching movies.
Essentially, Artefact is a deceptively simple way to change the way you work.
“TELL ME ABOUT THEM IN DETAIL, PLEASE. GRATUITOUS DETAIL.”
The cards are made specifically to order. They were wrangled by my good friend (and general master of atoms) Tim Milne of Artomatic, and manufactured down in Devon by Axminster Printing. The boxes that hold them are from Moo; Lisa and Gemma there massively helped out here, so thank you both.
Artefact cards are a 250gsm clay coated reference card, with a 5mm radius corner created by platten-cutting the cards.
Platten-cutting is like using a pastry cutter. A very sharp, heavy pastry cutter. It’s shaped to pop the exact piece of card out again, and again, and again. Each card is cut individually, so that the finish is consistently perfect.
Each cutter has a unique fingerprint; a tiny hole left at the edge, so that the cards are easily freed from their steel creator. It means that each card is ever so finely marked with a unique identifying ridge along one side. I’d now know an Artefact card wearing a blindfold. Me, that is, not the card.
This all means that each box is like opening a fresh pack of playing cards. Except, of course, there’s nothing on them…
One side is a white as pure as the driven snow, the other has been dipped in sunshine, otherwise known as PMS012 Yellow. Combined with the finest market pen to grace this earth, the Sharpie 1.0mm fine point, you have the perfect combination of clarity and definition.
“HOW SPECIFICALLY COULD I USE THEM?”
I would suggest having a read of this wee instruction manual, which is still very much a work in progress but you’ll get an idea of what it is. It has lots of ideas not just from me, but from all the testers too.
If you want the normal PDF, download from here.
If you want the iBooks format for iPad, download from here.
“I WOULD LIKE TO BUY SOME”
The first limited edition batch of 100 bundles will be offered first to people on the mailing list, which you can sign up to here:
(just type your email into the box and hit ‘return’)
Each bundle will come with two boxes of cards, two Sharpie fine point pens, and a few other special things we’re making. So one for you, and one for a friend, maybe.
Exact cost TBC, but with VAT and shipping it will be around £30 I think. The plan is to use all the profits from Artefact to keep pushing it further, making bigger and bigger production runs, and bringing the cost down as I do.
I hope I’ve managed to pique your interest enough to sign up above. All that’s left for me to say is…
I’m sorting through my old pictures here and there, when I get a chance. 30Gb worth of unsorted pictures isn’t that easy to get through. But better to start now…
Anyway, I’m discovering all sorts of interesting moments in time. Like this, from The London Paper, on Wednesday 25th July 2007… oh the irony…