Instant Archetypes

With apologies for the shameless name-drop, I had been lucky enough to count Anab and Jon of award-winning design studio Superflux as friends for many years before we hit on an idea for a collaboration.

The Instant Archetypes card deck emerged as a response to that period in the late-mid Twentyteens when it seemed every futures and design fiction outfit was releasing some sort of card-based brainstorming or workshopping tool. In the lobby track of some conference or another—probably FutureEverything 2015?—I observed that most of these decks were functioning in a manner analogous to tarot cards: less as predictive devices for fortune-telling, and more as prompts or notions from which a narrative might be interpreted and developed. I had for many years been using tarot cards in this way, as part of my own creative writing practice. “Tell me more,” Anab suggested… and some time later, this is what came of it!

I am insanely proud to have been involved with this project, and even went so far as to say that it is, in effect, my first published book—a slightly hyperbolic claim, but one that I stand by nonetheless! However, credit should be allocated where it is due: I renamed and reinterpreted the classic Major Arcana in order to provide the basis for the deck, but the making of that idea into a very beautiful and coveted physical thing is very much down to the impeccable eye for detail and delivery that marks all Superflux’s work.

And I know they’d agree when I say that neither Superflux nor I would have had anything like so wonderful a result to point at and be proud of were it not for the simply stunning artwork of Amélie Barnathan, who responded to a very unusual brief—and who also put up with my insistence that she should visually interpret my verbal interpretations of the cards without any further input from me—and totally knocked it out of the park.

(Recently republished, you can buy the Instant Archetypes deck direct from Superflux.)