Could Graphic Design Help People Better Relate To Each Other?

Inspired by the pictorial language of signs, Values is a deck of cards that aims to help people better understand themselves and others.

We all prioritize different things in our lives. That’s what makes us unique, but it can also make us feel as if we’re more different from one another than we really are. Why can’t you understand that my collection of pictures of cats dressed in wedding dresses is just as important to me as your charity work is to you?


Now on Kickstarter, Values is a new deck of flashcards that aims to make people realize there isn’t such a big gap between all of us, really. The Values deck uses design as a tool to help people better understand themselves and the people they know.

Designed by Genís Carreras, the Values deck is made up of 58 core values that almost everyone shares, representing ideas such as love, ambition, broadmindedness, pleasure, social power, tradition, and a sense of belonging. Having previously Kickstarted a series of minimalist posters that reduce big philosophical ideas into simple shapes, Carreras visualizes these concepts abstractly, one per card, using a simple informational style. “Success,” for example, is represented by a person standing on a winner’s podium, while “influence” is portrayed as a series of concentric circles radiating out of a figure.

The style of the cards is immediately understandable to anyone who has ever seen a bathroom sign. Carreras tells me that he based his designs off of Isotype, a visual language created by pioneering informational designers Otto Neurath and Gerd Arntz that is the standard for most pictorial signage on Earth.

“Their excellent icons represented things like professions, resources, ethnic groups, or animals,” Carreras tells me. “But there are so many ideas out there that don’t have a graphic form–yes, we have a heart for love, but we don’t have an icon for ambition, or friendship, or influence. The project tries to make visible the invisible, something as important as what defines who we are both as individuals and as a society.”

According to Carreras, there’s no “right” way to use the cards. They can be flipped through like trading cards, used in exercises, or even hung up as little motivational posters. However, the deck does ship with a few simple game suggestions, like a values-based version of Charades. The cards can also be used as a simple getting-to-know-you exercise, by having two people rank a handful of cards in the order the values represented are important to them, then compare the results.

You can preorder Values on Kickstarter starting at $23 a deck here.