"This should be about design being more than a beauty pageant or merely a utility of business. It’s about the power of design to tell compelling stories, capture imaginations, and build communities around common drives." - Bob Zeni, The Chairman of Archive13.
The Archive competition is an annual occurrence canonizing regional nowness of Chicago communication design.
Over the past few years (Thirst's Archive11+ Plural's Archive12) Archive's recognition has been growing and has lead to the 2013 partnering of the Society of Typographic Artist (STA) + AIGA Chicago. Building on work that has solidified it's reputation, Matt Wizinksy + Nick Adam's goal was to work with Bob Zeni to demonstrate that the Archive has arrived. It was time to take the stage, to be bold, and to set itself apart.
How do we tell a story about creating, appreciating, and celebrating greatness?
Rather looking to the past to pay homage, we created a voice and presence that embodies nowness and stands with great courage. We created a custom image manipulation software that works as controllable machine glitching built through processing. Alongside our geometric gliched images is a custom titling typeface based every major moment in letter-symbols history. For imagry, we began with history's most successful stories.
We looked to history for successful stories that have stood the test of time and asked the following:
What is similar? What can we learn? What does this mean for a community of designers?
We saw that every society creates its own culture and develops its own mythology. Mythology is found in the symbolic codes of the community including its visual representations, pageantry, and rituals. We also found that it is only through a belief in, a commitment to, and a shared understanding of the common culture that a community will thrive. We discovered likeness in the Archive, as it is a yearlong series of rituals, rich with meaning and metaphor, that fulfill its purpose by selecting and celebrating outstanding Chicago design.
These rituals align with those of any civil or religious society and follow certain archetypes: Sacrifice, Judgment, and Worship.
The first act of the Archive ritual is 'Sacrifice': a call for submissions, for designers to submit their work.
Greatness demands sacrifice. Heart and soul. Blood, sweat, and tears. So many hours of precious time. It takes a lot to go beyond good or decent. What do you sacrifice to create work that is exceptional, transcendent, timeless? Offer up your best work— in fact, offer up yourself—to face the cruel scrutiny of judgment. Is your sacrifice worthy of praise?
What will you sacrifice?
Second act of the Archive ritual is 'Judgment': a call to the community to attend Judges’ Night, as well to prepare for the judging.
The sharp line of judgment neatly divides the best from the rest. Put your best foot forward, place your hat in the ring, and step up to be judged. Find out whether you measure up to the best. Will you be canonized in the book of greats? Will you join the ranks of those often-spoken names that came before you? Or will you be left behind and forgotten by history?
Are you prepared for judgment?
The third and final closing act to the annual Archive ritual is 'Worship' were we gather to praise and celebrate our community, and decide how this moment will be remembered by history.
Heroes, villains, icons, and idols. The revered saints and notorious sinners whose tales we pass from one generation to the next. We all walk in the shadow of those greats who came before us. But, who are the heroes amongst us? Whose deeds will be remembered? We gather to praise and rejoice in the greatness of our whole community. How will our moment be written by history?
How will you worship?
Follow Archive on Facebook.
If you are a practicing designer in Chicago, submit to Archive.
You can learn more about Archive13 here.
You can see over a 150 years of Chicago design cataloged in the Archive here.
About the creative team:
Equal parts nerd and rebel, Matt Wizinsky translates his discontent with the status quo through acts of design, research, education, and collaborative productions. His independent practice, Studio Junglecat, is a hub of investigative activities that include projects in communications, exhibitions, public interactions, social activism, and media experimentation. He also holds a split appointment as educator and researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Design and Innovation Center.
A creative-analytic with a conscience, Nick Adam’s work as a designer and a communication artist is focused towards improving humankind. He specializes in understanding how audiences relate to messaging, environments and each other. Nick employ's design to create work deemed as invaluable, he defines success as creating catalysts that precipitate change, positive shifts, and new understandings of being. Nick practices strategy and design at Firebelly, one of Chicago's leading creative studios.