Since 1999 Amsterdam based The Stone Twins, ‘a creative communication agency’ – with a profound feeling for design – is run by the twins Declan and Garech Stone. This month the talented Irish brothers reached their 40th birthday and to celebrate this they published ‘A catalogue of CRAP’. It is one of the most original pieces of agency advertising we have come across in a long time. While most ‘creative’ agencies cannot do any better than a spread in Adformatie with commercial stills – together with some copy along the lines of “we love advertising” – The Stone Twins created a catalogue about their lives. Or, as described in the introduction; “this catalogue is a potpourri of venerated objects and people. A visual timeline of a life conveyed through curiosities, relics, art & propaganda” (read: C.R.A.P.).
The catalogue consists of two parts; a sheet of 40 lickable ‘post stamp’-like pictures and the book itself. The sheet shows a colourful mix of design, book covers, flyers, personalities, objects and events that play an important role in the twins’ life. And every chapter in the book describes in a few catchy phrases each picture. A number on each page (like “Plate 8302”) indicates which picture should be attached to it. With appreciation for nostalgia The Stone Twins created the separate pictures as a salute to the 50s, when pictures were printed separately and then glued into the book. But it’s not just that, they also wanted to give their audience something engaging, something to remember – that’s where the twins’ advertising skills came in. It works. When reading the different chapters, you need to scan the ‘Plates’ so many times to find a matching picture that in the end they’ve become mini-icons.
To get the complete picture, here are a few quotes from the book; about ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’: “We credit the deliciously judgmental songs of the Oompa-Loompas (on themes like obesity or TV consumption) as a profound influence on our lives”. About the Dutch 50 guilder banknote: “Without exaggeration, the visual exuberance of Ootje Oxenaar’s currency designs were a magnet, pulling us in to discover and demystify Dutch Design”. About a hairy midget: “A least once a year, The Stone Twins attempt to incorporate a hairy midget into their assignments”. And about a Mazzo flyer: “In the years when there was no distinction between work and play – this intimate club offered an escape. After donning our ‘Mac & Maggie’ clothing and having it large, we’d hit the dance-floor with unfettered abandon”.
It is not just interesting to see what fascinates The Stone Twins, it is also a great – but concise – read that inspires and makes you smile throughout the book. And one thing is very clear; The Stone Twins do what they love, have a great sense of humour, and seem to be the perfect partners: “like two speakers plugged into a sound system. The same track with different frequencies. One melody amplified in stereo. Super-Dual-High-Fidelity-Stereo” – quoted from the Introduction.
Update: ‘if you would like a book, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address’