The Trials and Triumphs of Life with Able and Game

by Jenny Butler
Monday 15th August 2011

Lucy and I are delighted to welcome Anna and Gareth of Able and Game to the Guest Blog! Able and Game create hilarious and unique greeting cards for every occasion and also have great gift items like mugs, tea towels and calendars too. Gareth and Anna have created an incredibly entertaining series just for The Design Files this week – The Trials and Triumphs of Life!  They’ve also put together a sweet giveaway pack too [see the details here!]. – Jenny x

Gareth and I are super excited to be guest bloggers this week. We want to send out a big thank you to Jenny and Lucy for letting us loose on their lovely blog and to Emily Green for last week’s guest blog goodness.

This week we are looking at the trials and triumphs of life. The small things we often overlook are something we love to celebrate by featuring them on our greeting cards.  The more mundane the better – some of our most popular cards feature circumstances that don’t often get much attention.

The Trials and Triumphs of Work

Gareth and I recently made the transition from working from home to working in our own studio.

When we were looking for spaces we decided we would both need our own space to keep things sane. I’m messy, listen to the radio and like the office to be warm. Gareth is tidy, likes to watch Eastenders and often has the window open despite it being winter, so you can see why separate offices are important. As we are so busy we communicate via instant messenger, often using our own language called Smashlish where we just smash at the keyboard quickly.

Can you come in and check this drawing?


candk hyou come isn nn chek thoss drawongg///

…and despite me often thinking I’m going to have to repeat myself, he always seems to understand.

Having been self-employed for over three years I forget what meetings are like. I recently attended one where words like KPIs and quorum were bandied about, and I realised that many workplace meetings just go around and around in circles.  I drew this diagram during the meeting, and had a new found understanding as to why people like Anna Wintour only allow for meetings which are 7 minutes long.

Staying motivated when you’re self-employed can be hard at times. Gareth is organised with task managers and schedules, whereas I’m more of a scrap of paper on the desk type of person.

I think I have seven systems to track my work and don’t use any of them all that well, much to Gareth’s annoyance. They include a list stuck on the wall, a diary, Google calendar, a desk calendar, a downloaded task manager we don’t use and a downloaded task manager we do use and finally a pretty sketchbook. I also have a wall planner that needs to go up, but sadly no “hang in there” cat poster.

Anna and Gareth x

by Jenny Butler
Monday 15th August 2011


  • Mya 5 years ago

    Completely hate meetings. Love the rubbish circle. People love the sound of their own voices and a captured audience. Do we achieve anything in these things?

  • Anita 5 years ago

    I’m going to have to keep the circle of rubbish in my head as a mantra. It’s just a circle of rubbish, it’s just a circle of rubbish.

  • Sophie 5 years ago

    Your stuff cracks me up. I love it!

  • emma g 5 years ago


  • Dusty Plum 5 years ago

    Excellently funny start to the working week :)

  • Sarah 5 years ago

    Perfect for a gray Monday morning. I best do as they instruct and watch out for ‘woof’ today :)

  • Louise 5 years ago

    You guys are so funny! I love your work :) Thanks xo

  • geezgrandma 5 years ago

    Very very funny and very very true. Beautifully captures the mundane lunacy of office life.

  • Cathg1g2 5 years ago

    Ooh so accurate.
    I am def gonna get these cards for my boss (circle of rubbish) and husband (to do)…OMG is that him posing for the card???

  • Bella 5 years ago

    True that – very accurate.. love your work.

  • Sarah 5 years ago

    super sweet and so funny! and as a cat-lover but not in the crazy-i-have-20-cats-way-or-anything i love all your references to cats too!

  • Kate 5 years ago

    Love it! Have always loved the cards you guys make. “I go to Zone 2 for you” remains one of my favorutes (Although Jewel and Sunshine also make me smile). Great work guys.

  • Kate 5 years ago

    The best!

  • Rachel 5 years ago

    We need that top picture in our meeting room at work.. Great stuff.

  • tracey 5 years ago

    hilarious, and scarily accurate! Love your illustrations

  • Tina Foley 5 years ago

    Great stuff, very funny.

  • Marjory 5 years ago

    A great cartoon can change the world. Or at the very least make my day. Love these!

  • Naomi 5 years ago

    your cards make me laugh out loud in shops, and people think im a mad person- and i dont care! too funny!

  • Sarah 5 years ago

    7 minute meetings – great idea! Love love your cards

  • Lisette 5 years ago

    I totally agree with the meeting ‘spiral of repetition’ as each point gets rehashed over and over. Dot points should definitely be utilized! And I can totally relate to that scenario in a meeting where the points just get repeated all the time and said different ways. Totally know where you’re coming from.

  • Row 5 years ago

    very funny! great work

  • t 5 years ago

    love these guys.

  • Laura 5 years ago

    Anna and Gareth are my fav card makers! Make me laugh every time!

  • Erin 5 years ago

    I received one of your cards for my last birthday – loved it! Is still proudly on display on the mantle piece :)

  • Clare 5 years ago

    You guys have a card for every occasion. Love your work!

  • Jess 5 years ago

    love your take on meetings, so true!

  • Rachel 5 years ago

    These cards always make me smile!

  • Michelle 5 years ago

    I need a ‘hang in there’ cat poster!

  • Natalie 5 years ago

    have just seen your great work recently at a friend’s home. Now I seem to see it more and more. Love it!

  • Li 5 years ago

    So funny, very creative and witty indeed!

  • Adele 5 years ago

    Love your work :D

  • Laurine 5 years ago

    I’d go to Zone 2 for you. Best card ever.

  • The Sugar Junkie 5 years ago

    My organisation system is post it notes. My office is coated in them!

  • Jules 5 years ago

    I just left a job last Friday where there was definitely a “circle of rubbish.” What a crack up!

  • Shelley Panton 5 years ago

    Nice to read your post this morning A & G on being self employed .. I can relate oh so much.. thanks for sharing your gorgeous ideas on the cards, my customers love them! Nothing like an Able & Game to provoke a chuckle. Cheers, Shelley x

  • hannah 5 years ago

    Such accurate observation of life. I agree the best humor comes from the mundane

  • belinda/gretchenmist 5 years ago

    perfect!! thanks for this monday morning moment :)

  • Mandalay Arthouse 5 years ago

    Very funny stuff! I needed a laugh this morning!

  • George 5 years ago

    As I begin a week of meetings it’s nice to get some perspective. I think A&G should release a ‘hang in there’ poster too.

  • Helen 5 years ago

    The circles of rubbish at my work also seem to be conducted in range of interchangeable clichés – “Let’s talk about that offline”, “I’m going to action these points”, “Let’s park that for now”, “So, moving forward…”
    So refreshing to see meetings reduced to a simple, easy to navigate diagram. Thank you!

  • neddy 5 years ago

    So true! Huge fan of your work

  • Sharni 5 years ago

    This year I realized I shouldn’t buy pretty calendars as I now know that I don’t write anything on them because I don’t want them to get dirty. I love you Able & game to infinity infinity infinity infinity xoxo

  • clea 5 years ago

    loving all the “dad” cards!o))

  • annie 5 years ago

    Love your stuff! I would love to be the winner of your fabulous giveaway…

  • jj 5 years ago

    hee hee hee!

  • siska 5 years ago

    thanks for sharing this – perfect for monday blues.

  • Karina Harvey 5 years ago

    Super Cute and original! Love it

  • Michelle 5 years ago

    anything that helps me work!

  • laura 5 years ago

    many giggles. x

  • Rebecca 5 years ago

    Hunka Hunka Laburnum Love… My favourite card ;-)

  • Jodi 5 years ago

    That ‘How meetings work’ diagram is spot on!

  • Jennifer 5 years ago

    Seven minute meetings would be awesome, precisely because meetings work exactly like you described!

  • Amelia 5 years ago

    Haha, some good points there!
    I love the cat references too. My cat lives in the country so I have to travel to visit her. I do miss having my cat around, but I don’t think she’d appreciate all the hazardous organising structures of the big smoke that you describe!

  • Jen 5 years ago

    I can completely relate to Anna’s “reminder system”. My desk is adorned with post it notes, note books, scraps of paper, wall planner, calendar and of course various programs on the computer to trigger my colander of a memory.It’s a wonder how any work gets done after settign all of these things…

  • Giselle 5 years ago

    Ah you make me laugh Anna. I think I’m a bit like you, I have lovely post it notes to write reminders on, but usually I forget to remind myself, somehow I manage to get stuff done though

  • Kate Gilbert 5 years ago

    Bless you, bringing some whimsy to the world of work.

  • Sarah Austin 5 years ago

    i love the diagram of meetings, i think that should go up on my wall at work for everyone to see and ponder.

    Love your stuff since i saw you guys at finders keepers about 6 months ago.

  • haha! I am with the cat, I have so many to do list, I have lists to check my to do lists! love it!

  • Lizzie Kennedy 5 years ago

    Hi Anna! You should just make a hang in there cat poster.

  • KATE 5 years ago

    You guys are genius. Love your work!

  • Michelle 5 years ago

    love it!

  • Beck Wallman 5 years ago

    I’ve started framing some of your cards guys, too funny and too cute to put in my fave cards box. Keep it up, so happy to be ignoring the big boring card makers at the newsagents.

  • rebecca 5 years ago

    This is the most fun, fun stuff! Makes my day every time I see them… Personal fave is the “I’d go to Zone 2 for you” which I’ve done for birthday cards several times :)

  • Jane 5 years ago

    So fun and clever!

  • Leonie 5 years ago

    Such awesome cards! Ever since I moved to the other side of the world (almost three months ago), I have been actively sending cards to family and friends. For my mom I always pick cards with cats – preferably funny ones – because she’s a huge cat lover. The card with the text “I love you just the way I am” with the fat cat is just perfect, I would love to send that one to my mom. Kind of reminds me of my cat that is still living with my parents, her name is Muffin and she looks like she has swallowed a ball. Pretty much like the cat on the card, but then in black and white… :-)

  • Grace 5 years ago

    oooh yes i want some of these funny cards… thanks for the fun start to the week!

  • Gabe 5 years ago

    A tip of the hat to your funniness

  • Gael Joyce 5 years ago

    The simple things in life are what make us laugh the most. Keeping it real.

  • Kylie 5 years ago

    Love your work! ;)

  • Edwina 5 years ago

    Your stuff is bloody hilarious. I loved giving my mum a “You are my sunshine” card as she is a sunshine girl. And my husband and I have been so obsessed with Survivor since the beginning so cracked up when I gave him the “I want you in my last two” card for an anniversary. Spot on with your humour……

  • Annabel 5 years ago

    Hi guys, great blog! I think I’m going to try and apply the 7-minute meeting rule at work this week! Should be all is needed. Love your work. :) x

  • Katrina 5 years ago

    Love your stuff!

  • Jo 5 years ago

    What fun these would be to have in my present drawer, so clever and gorgeous!

  • Anna Nicols 5 years ago

    Ah Fantastic! So Good – Just love the cartoons!

  • Kristyn 5 years ago

    You guys just kill me. I’m in an obscure country town and nearly wet myself when I saw your cards for sale in a quirky cafe we have here. Got lots of strange looks at my muffled hysterics whilst reading the card range.

  • MissAmy 5 years ago

    Haha – so true.

    The 7 minute meeting rule should be brought in as law!

  • sandra 5 years ago

    smashlish?! LOVE it! and the most clever greeting card drawings, ever!

  • elissa c 5 years ago

    I love smashlish. Must learn it.

  • Emily 5 years ago

    Nice one!

  • Mandus 5 years ago

    I love those quirky drawings – groovy

  • Kim 5 years ago

    So glad I’m not the only who feels like that about meetings and getting organised!

  • Jordan 5 years ago

    Oh la la!

  • E-Gene 5 years ago

    Always a good laugh. Will love a set of these for Father’s Day.

  • Kimberley 5 years ago

    After having a look at your stuff, it was almost like I was with my best friend. Honest, light hearted observations. Love how it’s the everyday things that make us laugh the most. You must have a happy house!!!

  • Lucy 5 years ago

    Thanks for all your ace comments guys! Some of these comments are almost as funny as the post!

    ps. What the hell is ‘Quorum’ anyway!?

  • Sophie Gyles 5 years ago

    I emailed a link to your meetings drawing to our staff team ahead of tomorrow’s weekly meeting. Good move or bad? Time will tell! Haha love it. Love A&G so much…

  • Bec 5 years ago

    Tuna casserole remains both my favorite card and favourite dinner – see, win win!

  • Cristina 5 years ago

    I love the fun drawings! Can’t stop laughing at the “hang in there” cat poster!

  • Vanessa 5 years ago

    Lol! Sounds just like my days… unfortunately…

  • Mary Rose 5 years ago

    Hysterical. Love them all!!

  • Jen 5 years ago

    AAAhhhh love it!!! hilarious

  • Leissa 5 years ago

    I love the ‘Circle of Rubbish’ – perfect description of the countless mind-numbing meetings I have endured so far this week (and it’s only Tuesday!!!)… Love your work, it certainly put a smile on my face! :-)

  • jessica 5 years ago

    you just made my day!!! Thanks!!

  • Kathleen 5 years ago

    Can totally relate to ‘How Meetings Work’. Love your work!

  • Katie Frederick 5 years ago

    I love your meetings drawing..I’m almost game enough to pop it up on my desk at work!

  • Aasta 5 years ago

    Thanks for capturing many moments of my life. Enjoying the blog.

  • Jennifer 5 years ago

    Your scribbles make me smile

  • Lauren 5 years ago

    Found your stuff in a shop in Olinda on the weekend- LOVE it. Thanks

  • Helen 5 years ago

    Able and Game are my go to for all my stationary needs! Love them

  • uberjoi 5 years ago

    love it :) x

  • Tam 5 years ago

    Can “How meetings work” please be produced as a print? I think it would be perfect for my office!!!

  • Jacqueline 5 years ago

    I love it! Some meetings are just like that!

  • katelyn 5 years ago

    So, looks like you sat in a meeting at my workplace!! Just the laugh I needed as I prepare to return to the workplace (tomorrow…eek!) after 12 months maternity leave.

  • katelyn 5 years ago

    oh, and I second the request for this to be made into a print- would take pride of place on my ‘work station’

  • hana 5 years ago

    ha! love it!

  • Mark 5 years ago

    I’m looking at about 30 post-it notes on my desk right now!
    Love your work Anna and Gareth. Hilarious!

  • Donna Quirke 5 years ago

    Your drawing describes nearly every day in our office at the moment – going around and around in circles – made me laugh so much – I’ve printed it out and put it on my wall – LOVE IT – too funny!!!

  • ponygirl summers 5 years ago

    Sweet stuff, thanks for sharing. :)

  • josie jo 5 years ago

    My cat’s called fluffy! Let’s minute that! – love it x

  • karen 5 years ago

    he he very funny

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