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Deck of Student-Designed Playing Cards Gives Xerox a Strong Hand as ICON5 Sponsor

Press release from the issuing company

(July 10, 2008) When a smiling Democratic donkey is poised to shake hands with a happy Republican elephant, odds are you’re witnessing a high-stakes card game. A new deck illustrated by 52 students from four art schools commemorating the Illustration Conference (ICON5) increases those odds. The reason: the five of clubs carries an illustration by Jamie Stroud, a May 2008 graduate of the Master of Art in Illustration program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, showing the two party symbols about to engage in a forelimb grip. 

As a top-tier “Partner Sponsor” of ICON5, held July 2 - 5 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, Xerox Corporation worked in partnership with ICON5 to produce the deck of cards as a commemorative gift for the more than 400 illustrators who attended. ICON5 organizers arranged for top students from three New York design schools — the Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts — and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, to contribute their original illustrations and designs.

“As illustrators, we don’t go to an office every day, so ICON5 is a great opportunity to be around people who do what we do, to talk about trends and issues and to get re-inspired,” said Whitney Sherman, president of ICON5 and chair of the Illustration Department, Maryland Institute College of Art. “It’s important for ICON5 to use projects like the deck of cards to engage our future attendees. And for the students, it’s a great opportunity to get exposure to a few hundred of the world’s top illustrators, designers and others who can influence their careers."

She added: “From an academic perspective, the project fits well with contemporary educational models of  blending creativity and professional development. It gave students creative freedom and realistic deadlines.” 

To develop the cards, each school was assigned one suit — clubs (FIT), diamonds (MICA), hearts (Parsons) and spades (SVA) — and the school’s chairpersons or deans overseeing illustration programs selected 13 students to provide card designs. 

”I like producing works that are usable, and I also like playing cards — plus this project is a great opportunity for exposure,” said Jessica Neil, a 2008 MICA graduate from Birmingham, Ala., who designed the nine of diamonds. She now works as a junior designer at Spur Design LLC in Baltimore, where her initial projects included work on the ICON5 program guide. Her card illustration is a pattern of colored diamond and triangle shapes. “I do a lot of pattern design, and I have an interactive website where I generate patterns based upon basic questions like, what is your favorite color?” she said. “I pulled a pattern I liked from that project and worked with it to better fit the diamonds theme.”

To produce the cards, Xerox engaged Tucker Printers, Henrietta, N.Y., a Consolidated Graphics Company and a member of the Xerox Graphic Arts Premier Partners, a global network of more than 730 leading digital print providers. Rendered in Adobe InDesign CS3, the cards were printed on a Xerox iGen3® 110 Digital Production Press, on Xerox 100 lb. Elite Gloss Cover, laminated with an Autofeeds, Inc. laminator and die-cut on a Busch high-die die cutter. The box also was printed on the Xerox iGen3 press, on 18 pt. Xerox Folding Board, showcasing the power of digital color printing in short-run packaging applications. 

“The ICON5 playing cards are an example of the inspired work that’s possible when educators, grass-roots professional organizations and technology industry leaders team up to showcase the dynamic talents of tomorrow’s illustration stars,” said Bob Wagner, vice president, Creative Services Business and Premier Partners, Xerox Corporation. “It’s also another fine example of how digital color presses are successfully reproducing some of the most demanding illustration, design and packaging work being created today.”

As a top-tier sponsor, Xerox also contributed to the ICON5 conference by printing banners on Xerox wide-format color printers and by showcasing the Xerox Phaser line of color printers in a tabletop display. In addition, Xerox sponsored a July 3 presentation by illustrator Jeff Moores on “The Power of Personalized Promotion.”  Moores described three direct mail promotions he produced on Xerox iGen3 presses that generated some of the highest response rates in his career and considerable business by using personalization to make pieces more relevant to recipients. 

ICON5 The Illustration Conference is a not-for-profit, national conference for the illustration and graphic arts industry. For more information, visit: www.theillustrationconference.org.