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Magpie imagines the possibilities

Most design jobs start with a blank sheet of paper in one way or another, but for Magpie Studio, it was a question of how to sell the blank sheets themselves. International paper manufacturer Robert Horne Group was relaunching its Imagine line and wanted to showcase the paper’s merits to decision-makers in the creative industries – so making the right kind of impact was vital.

Magpie for Robert Horne

Magpie’s designers were faced with a daunting visual challenge: “It soon became clear why they’re known as ‘impossible illusions’,” says David Azurdia

“Paper mailers have a tendency to go straight from the postman into recycling, so it was important that the piece appealed as a keepsake,” says Magpie creative director David Azurdia. “We saw the brief as a chance to inspire creatives; to lift them visually and mentally. True to the paper’s name, we wanted to create a promotional campaign that would fire the imagination – to suggest that with imagination, anything is possible,” he continues.

Inspired by the impossible objects of MC Escher and Oscar Reutersvrd, and by Phantasmagrams, the 1992 book of optical illusions by Pentagram’s David Hillman, Magpie created a series of sharp, striking and intriguing designs that were then paired with appropriate quotes on the nature of creativity. According to Azurdia, developing each image was an exacting process of “research, drawing, redrawing, redrawing, redrawing, final drawing, printing.” Each illusion was drafted by hand on an isometric grid, which proved to be as “baffling” as it was time-consuming.

Magpie for Robert Horne

Magpie Studio designed its eye-catching images for Robert Horne Group on an isometric grid, with the halftones created in Scriptographer

Magpie worked closely with printer Gavin Martin Colournet to ensure the reproduction showed both the designs and the paper at their absolute best. The resulting eight posters were gathered in a loose leaf folio for hand-delivery to studios.