Christmas Dammit!

At Christmas, most of my friends and family understand that I don't like having too much stuff. Flags and cacti are usually a safe bet. But every once in awhile someone will buy me one of those odd "designer-like" objects like an over-designed corkscrew. A few years ago, my friend Jan Fleming gave me one of my favorite gifts ever, the Deer Crest card catalogue.

I keep it out all year long because I love the cover so much. The inside has multiple pages with individual cards that can be ordered in bulk. I imagine this is what someone did in 1960; go to Montgomery Ward, sit with a salesperson, and go through the catalogue, "Oh yes, that card with the evil Satan Santa will be lovely this year. I'll order 200 please."

I would never be able to choose one. There are too many wonderful cards. The script on the interior of the cards is incredible. Each card has a special technique, such as lots of real gold stars pasted down to make a Christmas Tree, plastic jewels, or acetate overlays. I don't understand some of them. I mistook the ones with baby angels as dead babies. Santa Claus seems a little scary in some, especially the terrifying demon Jack in the Box.

It's incredible how denominational it is. There are no Hanukkah cards. There is nothing neutral such as a Happy New Year card or snowy scene that simply reads "Happy Holidays". The catalogue is clear, "It's Christmas, bitches!"

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Director of the Graphic Design Graduate Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for lynda.com/Linked In. He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.