Bus Bosses Trump Cards

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This prototype project by Mark Scicluna (illustrations), Julian Mallia (literature), Chiara Bonello (design and typography) and Glenn Grech (typography) has been getting quite a number of positive comments on Facebook. Following a much contested national debate around the privatisation of the public transport system, REDWHITEmt got interested in this creative idea and wanted to share more details about it with its readers.

What inspired Bus Bosses
“Bus Bosses is an aftermath for the frustration associated with the local public transport system. It aims at channelling such cliché terminology into a subtle and entertaining approach.”

The project started off by an intense investigation of the public transport environment and its main protagonists:

“Online videos were found documenting a protest held by bus drivers a couple of years back. There we could really see Maltese bus drivers in action. During our research various elements were identified such as hanging playboy pictures on rearmirrors, statues of the Holy Mary and memorial cards. The very best were included in our project”

Illustration, typeface and design
The team also worked on caricatures of bus drivers as seen above. Each drawing is faithful to both the physical and the behavior characteristics of each driver. In addition to a set of 14 illustrated cards, a bonus card was designed. This was inspired by the handcrafted decorations found on the buses, also known as tberfil. This old technique had also inspired various designs by local music band Etnika.

The artists based their works on an orange and dark yellow colour scheme, as is for the traditional buses.

“The decorations on the buses (tberfil) are also very important elements. Another laborious task was the study and creation of the typeface which accompanies tberfil. A very similar typeface was identified, and re-designed with decorations.”

The concept
“We want to use the already available ticketing system to create a more engaging bus ride. The back side of the tickets would be printed with a caricature of a driver accompanied by a respective short description and scoring criteria such as ferocity and punctuality. Fourteen different variations will be available and these would be printed in random order on all ticket rolls.

Bus users would be issued one ticket featuring one of the fourteen different trump card variations. The game works as in all trump cards – users are to compare one of the criteria and the criterion with the highest score will win. Whilst customers would be encouraged to trade and play the cards, bus drivers would feel they are now the protagonists of a fun card game.”

This project has already been getting numerous positive comments. People can immediately relate to the illustrated characters and get enthusiastic about the game.

“Bus drivers were also enthusiastic with the whole idea. Some even tried to identify resemblances between the caricatures and their colleagues.

The public transport has never been viewed from this informal perspective so passengers and drivers were both pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed identifying stereotypes whilst creating something that apart from being enjoyable also serves to inform customers and get them to interect better with the transport system.”