For a 21st-century seeker with no adherence to one particular faith, the world of spirituality is a grab bag of eclectic beliefs culled from ancient traditions. Where does an unenlightened young grasshopper begin?
To offer a primer on the world’s major faiths, creative director Giovanni Bianco and his New York–based studio GB65 have designed colorful card sets compiling prayers from 10 spiritual traditions: Brazilian Candomblé, Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Kabbalah, Islam, Protestantism, and Shinto. These card sets are now available in one sleek package, called “Say a Little Prayer,” from Taschen.
Even design-minded atheists might appreciate these prayer cards, if only for their graphic beauty and bold colors. The card packs are decorated with whimsical illustrations of deities, saints, and other icons from the corresponding faiths, including Saint Francis of Assisi, the Hindu goddess Durga, Confucius, the Shield of David, and the Buddha. Each card set contains 11 cards–one card introducing the basic beliefs and history of the faith, and 10 prayer cards, each one with a bright, stylized illustration of an icon from the tradition.
Bianco, who in 2001 founded Studio 65, has worked on branding for the likes Versace, Miu Miu and Zegna, as well as on design projects for Madonna (the pop star). In “Say a Little Prayer,” he draws the original Madonna (the Virgin), and lends his chic, contemporary design aesthetic to some of the world’s most ancient belief systems. The cards include Islamic prayers for protection from evil and for forgiveness, drawn from the Qur’an or prophetic traditions; the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path from the Gospel of the Buddha; and prayers to Ogum and Yemanja, gods in the Brazilian Candomble tradition.
These pocket-sized prayer cards don’t claim to replace a pilgrimage to Mecca or years in a mountain monastery. But they do offer a beautifully designed respite from the fast pace of modern life–the prayers here aren’t much longer than tweets–and serve as Spirituality 101 for the heathens among us.
Say A Little Prayer is available from Taschen here for $40.