Cornford and Cross
Problems Solved 1999

Letterpress printed card
For Dot., curated by Elizabeth Price
5 Teesdale Yard, London


For our contribution to Dot, a year-long cumulative art project curated by the artist Elizabeth Price, we produced a business card.

We chose to produce this card at the time when electronic mail was beginning to displace postage as the standard means of text-based correspondence. Book Works, London, typeset the card for us in Gill Sans and printed it in letterpress on uncoated 300gsm acid-free card. The card’s design and production qualities were intended to suggest an ambition for clarity and longevity in dealing with the material realm of problems (and solutions).

Using an ampersand to associate the surnames Cornford & Cross aligns our partnership with conventions of professional practice. The ampersand is a typographic ligature of the letters ‘et’, Latin for the English conjunction ‘and’. This linguistic device denoting connection suggests that the nature of the bond between individuals is rooted in language as part of a wider and older set of codes articulating thought and governing behaviour.

As the card does not specify the nature or range of problems that might be solved, it does not constitute an offer in English law, but an invitation to treat — the implication being that interested parties should approach us in order to define the problem in question. By neither connecting nor separating the problems of art from those of any other field, the card invites people to problematize all situations, and to open discussions as to how to go about resolving them.

‘Reasonable rates’ anchors the ideal of the rational subject within the context of the economic. Problems Solved appealed to commonsense notions of value and moderation, while inviting people to rethink what constitutes the subjective, the historically specific and the ideological.