Fisk and Kamp Grizzly collaborate on a set of plates featuring unexpected Clipart and six platitudes

A Holiday Special sees two revered Portland-based creative studios raise money for Oregon Food Bank and reconsider holiday values for a more hopeful 2021.

27 January 2021

In a new collaboration between two esteemed Portland-based design studios, Fisk and Kamp Grizzly have come together to give meaning to words that are overused but underutilised. The six words in question are collaboration, community, goodwill, empathy, gratitude and family – six notions expressed through a set of platitude plates with all proceeds going to the Oregon Food Bank. The platitude plates are designed with lasting appeal and everyday dining in mind. Manufactured in the US with scratch-resistant features to prevent chipping, the charitable project began at the end of last year when (we’re sure most of us can agree on this) there was a great need for joy and lightness to end 2020 on a much-needed high.

Kamp Grizzly – a creative agency focused on human interaction whose past clients include MTV, Adidas and Vice – wanted to find a way to reunite with friends and collaborators unduly separated due to the pandemic. Headed up by creative director Justin Morris, the agency launched A Holiday Special, an entertaining multi-segment variety show on Twitch complete with infomercials, musical performances and appearances from the likes of Giraffage, Gia Seo, Raina Morris, Theo Marins, Yellowtech and, of course, the neighbouring creatives at Fisk who helped bring these joyous plates to life.

The Holiday Platitude Set is the largest initiative to come out of the variety show, each plate emblazoned with a mantra that hopes to bring more positivity into 2021. Speaking on said Mantras – empathy, community, family, collaboration and goodwill – Fisk’s founder Bijan Berahimi tells It’s Nice That: “While these words are intended to be used intimately with passion and purpose, they are also used conditionally in society and the greater capitalist structure, appearing throughout our interactions with culture to distort and warp our true feelings.”

Bijan observed that the more these terms are co-opted by capitalist rhetoric, the less authenticity and meaning the words possess. To accompany the line of plates, Kamp Grizzly created a series of humorous infomercials to shine a light on the brilliant plates. Scripted and shot by Kamp Grizzly and featuring Bijan as a pitchman, the shorts are a witty example of how to use “humour as a vehicle to deliver a sincere message,” explains Justin.


Kamp Grizzly and Fisk: Holiday Platitudes (Copyright © Kamp Grizzly and Fisk, 2020)

Often, such words are so overused, we lose the ability to absorb their meaning. Or as Bijan puts it, “we forget what they actually feel, smell and look like. It becomes a saying, not an action.” In response to this, the Holiday Platitude Plates take another look at these words, in turn, challenging individual definitions and questioning what they really mean to us. The release of the plates coincided with the end of year holidays, an apt chance for the team to put out conscious messaging for the holidays.

When it came to creating the artwork featured on the plates, Bijan drew a direct parallel between the project’s title and the aesthetic style. “Platitude is defined as a statement with moral undertones that has been used too often to be genuine or thoughtful,” the Fisk founder says on the matter. In turn, he utilised Clipart motifs to demonstrate the idea, noting how Clipart doesn’t have strictly moral connotations but can also be used to express a myriad of topics. “Just as ubiquitous as peace and love,” continues Bijan, “Clipart is a universal way of communicating with the world and I think we can appreciate the nuances of it, each design isn’t made to overcomplicate.”

There is a universality to Clipart that Bijan wanted to tap into for the design, citing how “We see it all around us but sadly it falls into the shadows of normalcy.” Elevating the Clipart icons with this project, Platitude Plates shows Clipart in an unexpected way and on an unexpected medium, allowing the viewer to also consider the icons from a different perspective.

Not only has Clipart been a source of inspiration for this project in question, but it is also an influence in Bijan’s personal work. As a designer known for pushing the boundaries of typography and image-making, Clipart offers unique source material for Bijan. “It’s the way much of society interacts with graphic design, through city signage or printed information,” he finally goes on to say. “I truly believe Clipart is beautiful and these plates are a celebration of that.”

Kamp Grizzly and Fisk: Holiday Platitudes (Copyright © Kamp Grizzly, 2020)

Kamp Grizzly and Fisk: Holiday Platitudes (Copyright © Kamp Grizzly, 2020)

GalleryKamp Grizzly and Fisk: Holiday Platitudes (Copyright © Kamp Grizzly and Fisk, 2020)

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Kamp Grizzly and Fisk: Holiday Platitudes (Copyright © Kamp Grizzly and Fisk, 2020)

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

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