A slew of major designers have created interpretations of one of the most enduring and recognizable visual motifs of all time: the heart. Launched by Craig Atkinson, a designer at SEA Design, The Heart Index brings together contributions from 76 of design’s most “influential and celebrated modern practitioners,” in a beautiful and refined print publication to raise money and awareness for Heart Research UK.
Although the project started off with just a close group of friends, interest grew and it quickly evolved into something much more substantial, with contributions from some of the most significant names in graphic design and illustration, including Wim Crouwel, Jean Jullien, Adrian Shaughnessy, and Spin. “We were overwhelmed by the positive response within the design community,” Atkinson says. “Sending cold emails is something I’ve always tried to avoid, but most people seemed happy to help if it was for a good cause.”
Housed in a deceptively minimal exterior, the “compendium of graphic hearts” includes responses that range from the serious (Andreas Friberg Lundgren from Lundgren+Lindqvist had his own heart scanned) to the playful, like the anatomically correct heart Mark Boyce made from type or Wim Crouwel’s interlinked question marks that form an “uncertain” heart shape.
Atkinson explains that The Heart Index is actually the result of a lengthy decision process. “It was one of our first simple ideas that we ended up revisiting after endless other developments. Sometimes trying to develop new ideas can make you realize that the simplest solution is often the best.”
More than visual fun, Atkinson’s book demonstrates the design industry’s ability to effect change. “Graphic design isn’t going to save the world, but it can certainly make it a better place,” he says.
Buy the book here (£9.00, or about $14); all proceeds go to Heart Research UK.