We’re currently in the midst of a puzzle renaissance, as turbulent times abound, downtime becomes sacred and what better way to spend those minutes or hours than with a puzzle designed to “trigger meaningful conversations”? This is the ethos behind Ponder Designs Co., the Australian owned business that posits puzzles can (and should) be so much more than bucolic albeit banal landscapes.
“Ponder Designs Co. is on a mission to help the world fall back in love with meaningful downtime,” says Ponder founder and creative strategist Georgia Patch. “Rather than mindlessly scrolling social media. I thought I could turn puzzles into an activity with substance by aligning each puzzle to an interesting issue. At the same time, I felt there were no puzzles on the market that appealed to my style—so the packaging is stylish and unique enough for flaunting.”
It's a simple premise: good looking puzzles that make you think, thanks to “illustrations [that] are centred on different cultural, social and political issues”. The result? A collection of three aesthetically pleasing puzzles, each centred on a different, but equally important topic—hand-picked to provoke conversation.
The topics include ‘Body Talk’ (which zeroes in on “body ideals and societal expectations of body image”); ‘Consumption Culture’ (“which stresses our reliance on new things to make us happy”) and ‘I Need Space’ (“a comment on the increasing need to break away from our ‘always on’ lifestyles”).
In getting the aesthetics right (an important consideration for puzzlers the world over) Patch tapped artist Alessandra Poli (an alum of Vogue Living, no less) for Ponder’s debut trio. The delicious illustrations prove puzzles can hold their own among coffee table staples (think: Assouline tomes and Diptyque candles) too.
“I love creating a fun, design aesthetic that encapsulates a range of themes relevant to today’s society,” Poli said of the collaboration. “The beloved jigsaw has been reincarnated to not only provoke stimulating discussion but as a chic book that can sit proudly on the coffee table.”
Partnering with emerging artists isn’t the only positive step these puzzles take either, with Ponder Designs Co. donating $1 (AUD) from each sale to not-for-profit charity, Khan Academy, whose mission is to provide free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.
Now, all that's left to do is switch off your phone and piece together a puzzle that makes you think.