Tuesday, 3:55pm
30 November 2010

Deal with it!

Design a face for M.A.D.’s student playing card competition

‘Playing for Peace’ – one of our Peace by Design projects – has evolved as part of my new life at M.A.D. (Making A Difference) for Peace, which I set up to communicate the importance of our individual responsibility in creating a world in which extreme conflict is ended, writes Gill Hicks.

At a talk to foundation level graphic design students at TafeSA in my home town of Adelaide, Australia, I challenged them to find new ways of getting ‘peace’ into people’s homes, into our everyday lives; to use design as the greatest problem solver! At M.A.D., we continuously search for ways to engage, encourage and get people to ‘do’ peace - for peace to be a verb.

Together we came up with the concept ‘Playing for Peace’, whereby they would create designs for a pack of playing cards. The brief was simple: no doves, no iconic peace symbols - instead let’s provoke new ways of thinking. Each student was dealt a card and asked to design the face with symbol and denomination, a dynamic pattern for the back and a 3-dimensional pack (see template at bottom of article), and also submit a 150-word rationale about their choice. The results were arresting, intriguing and most definitely thought-provoking.


Queen Heartscard back

We’ve now launched the initiative as an international competition and we’re calling for foundation level students to submit their entries by midnight 17 Dec 2010. Judges will be leading figures from the design world.

Building empathy and moving towards a peaceful existence is urgent and vital: I know only too well the effects of extreme violence. My life irrevocably changed on the morning of 7 July 2005 when I lost both of my legs in the London bombings. I’d been on my way to work as Head of Curation at the Design Council. When I was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital I was without an identity, labelled only as ‘One Unknown’.

King Spades10 Clubs

I wasn’t given a choice when a young man detonated his bomb. But I did have a choice in how to react, how to express my disbelief, anger and sadness at what he had done to me and my fellow commuters.

It wasn’t difficult to make the choices that I did. I wanted to celebrate my survival, to make my life count, to make a significant difference.

More details about the competiton can be found on the M.A.D. website

Gill Hicks, MBE (below) is founder of M.A.D. for Peace.


card pack 3

Below: M.A.D.’s blank template for a pack of cards.


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