Hello! And thank you for looking at our project! We are Peter Dunham and Linnea Gits, the designers and artists behind the Chicago design studio, Uusi and we are incredibly excited to introduce our project to you: an entirely hand-painted deck of tarot and poker cards called "BRuT."
BRuT: A modern tarot. At Uusi we are deep lovers of everyday objects that are useful and practical. If they can also be beautiful – all the better! But if an object can somehow be just a little bit magical to boot, oh my gosh, what an incredible delight!! Thus our fascination with playing cards and tarots and our desire to reinterpret them for a modern world.
Uusi and the tarot. About three years ago when our design studio took on the challenge to design six entirely unique, Limited Edition playing card decks all featuring original, hand-drawn artwork we began collecting decks from around the world to study and draw inspiration from. In our journey through this multitudinous genre some of the most beautiful, artistic and imaginative decks that we came across were tarot decks. We knew as soon as we saw these decks we would someday want to make one ourselves.
Along with their fantastical imagery, the tarot's charm was also it's unusual size. Standard tarot decks are typically created using an oversize format and though sizes vary, the one we chose for BRuT – 60mm x 110mm – is about an inch longer and almost the same width as a standard poker-sized deck. This extra length works elegantly to enhance the look and feel of the artwork allowing it to come alive in your hand like no other deck can and creates the perfect mini canvas, so-to-speak, for art. Add to this our tarot deck will be printed on premium, Master Finish card stock with a linen finish and you have one beautiful and highly playable deck.
In many ways we feel the tarot is the perfect deck. Not only does its size make it a beautiful object to look at, but one in which you can play a multitude of games. Aside from the original game of Tarot, (a trick-taking game that is a lot like Bridge), if you remove the Cavaliers and Trump cards you can play just about any game that you would normally play with a standard deck of cards.
BRuT Inspiration. The artwork for our BRuT tarot was inspired by Early 20th Century Modernism, Art Brut (or Outsider Art) and the forceful, geometric look of Brut Architecture. The symbolic imagery in our trump cards are loosely based on the early Marseilles Tarot from the 1700's. All imagery in this deck was hand-painted using gouache – a type of watercolor medium that is similar to watercolor but more highly pigmented.
The Future Enters Us. Finally, as a divination medium the tarot can be a powerful, meditative tool that allows the future to step inside you. Though few of us are gifted with telepathic powers, learning about and understanding these universal symbols and their meaning can be a powerful, reflective experience that teaches you to know yourself better, which in turn will naturally reveal the truth inside and ahead. A tarot is the perfect deck to find the secret passageways to the eternal future and as the old, masonic saying goes, "If you follow the secret way, you will find the shortest road." Let's follow this road together and make BRuT happen!!!
Where are the cups, coins, wands and swords for the courts? This was a tough decision for us, but ultimately we chose to use the modern, French suits for our courts instead of the older Latin suits as we wanted this deck to be as multifunctional as possible. A well used deck has a power all it's own – we all have our favorite – and this change helped to expand the function of the deck and move the tarot into our every day lives.
The French suits also hold meaning beyond their graphic design service on the cards and can just as easily contain content as powerful as the older, Latin symbols. We will expand on the French suit symbols and meaning later in the project.
**All court cards will be revealed during the project.
The imagery for the twenty-one BRuT trump cards is based on the early, Marseilles tarot from the 1700's. At Uusi we wanted to give a fresh take to this tarot classic by adding bold graphics that playfully reference the divination symbols of the Marseilles Tarot.
In games as in divination tarots The Fool is a complex, powerful card. On the one hand this "wild" card reminds us of how little we actually control in the world and that the wisest response to this chaos is to relax into it and try not to manage that which we have no power over. On the other hand, it warns of blindly giving in to the fates for as the old saying goes: "The wise man rules his stars, the fool obeys them."
Our fool is a classic jester – a dreamer – paying little attention to that which surrounds him. If not for his animal companion, a cat who is there to warn and brutally awaken him with an urgent,"reality bite," he could easily get lost in the world. And nothing, not even angels, protects those who lose themselves.
At Uusi we were the first designers to create and introduce the diptych ad cards to custom playing card decks. With the BRuT tarot we are switching it up a bit and taking advantage of the elegant size this longer card stock offers and are making it a triptych!
The scene on the card depicts Hercules wrestling with a lion. In our version of this classic scene Hercules has his hand thrust down the lions mouth. He is literally reaching into the jaws of fate and controlling his own destiny against staggering odds. This is our eternal struggle in the world and if we participate in it fearlessly and fully we are destined for a new birth.
A complex, mystical yet thoroughly modern design weaves it way across the back of our cards creating an almost hypnotic pattern.
Our BRuT tuck boxes will be created with an extra heavy paper stock to safely hold and beautifully display the tarot deck inside. Designed to have a modernist meets mystical flare it is the perfect packaging to enter into the Future with ;)
BRuT LIMITED EDITION POKER DECK! We have created a bonus Uusi playing card deck for this project. It is a companion, Limited Edition BRuT poker deck with all the same courts as the Tarot minus the beautiful Trump cards and Cavaliers, but just as much fun to play with! PLUS – if you get both decks – all that powerful juju of it's Mother tarot deck will rub off on it making you an unstoppable, gaming force!
*All images of the deck and tuck boxes you see in these photos are prototypes made at Uusi's studio. The finished product may vary slightly from what you see here – backers will be kept up-to-date of any minor changes that may occur. The overall design and theme will remain UNCHANGED throughout the funding and printing process.
- Seventy-eight tarot cards, one fool card all with original, eye-catching artwork.
- One illustrated, Uusi Ad Card.
- Card dimension: 60mm x 110mm
- Printed by The Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC).
- Printed on premium, Master Finish playing card stock with a linen finish.
- Heavy, premium paper for the tucks with an embossed linen finish.
- Fifty-two playing cards and two jokers all with original, eye-catching artwork that makes them ideal for magic and card games, yet at the same time very familiar and immediately recognizable by players and spectators alike.
- Printed by The Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC)
- Limited Edition of 5000.
- Printed on Master Finish card stock with a linen finish.
- Premium paper for the tuck box.
At Uusi we have been designing and producing Limited Edition decks for over three years now and with each deck we create we strive to maintain a high level of artistry and craftsmanship. With the cost to make and ship these custom decks ever increasing and the time involved in creating original, hand-drawn artwork intense, our custom decks are basically a labor of love. These decks are purely passion projects for us and we need your support to make them happen. We hope that our BRuT tarot has won your interest and your backing and if funded we will strive to deliver the highest quality product we can for you.
BRuT Mahogany Single-Tarot Deck Box. Handcrafted and designed for Uusi by Peter Dunham from reclaimed, old-growth mahogany. Each box holds (1) ONE BRuT tarot deck.
BRuT Gilded Poker and Tarot Decks. Uusi was the first design studio to create hand-gilded decks for the modern, custom playing card market two years ago and to our knowledge, we are currently the only company who has produced and sold them to date.
We are thrilled to continue this unique tradition with our BRuT tarot and poker deck. Each deck is hand-gilded with pure copper or gold leaf – this is NOT a sprayed on foil or simulated metal – by Peter Dunham using a 400+ year-old traditional gilding process. An exceptionally high level of craftsmanship is applied to this Fine Art process to ensure that each gilded deck is not only beautiful to look at but also to play with.
*View more images of our gilded decks here.
BRuT Gilded Poker Deck and Two Deck Box. This handsome and highly coveted case was originally introduced in our "Uusi Classic" deck project and we have brought it back one last time for BRuT! Designed and hand-crafted by Peter Dunham from old-growth redwood reclaimed from early 20th century Historical Landmark Chicago water towers. Boards from these towers were originally milled from trees that were 300+ years-old making the graining and color of each case incredibly beautiful and unique. Each case will have either a gilded copper leaf or 24KT gold leaf bottom to reflect the either 24KT gold leaf or copper leaf, gilded poker deck inside.
*Please note: Though the picture above shows two copper gilded decks this box comes with one gilded poker deck and one deck without gilding.
BRuT TAROT Gilded Deck and Box. An entirely unique design for this project, handcrafted by Peter Dunham from reclaimed, old-growth redwood that was salvaged from early 20th Century Historical, Landmark water towers in Chicago. Each box is signed and numbered and comes with a hand-gilded, 24KT gold leaf tarot deck. PLUS (1) ONE, standard BRuT tarot and (1) ONE BRuT Poker deck.
- BRuT poker deck add on is $11 each / $13 Int.
- BRuT tarot deck add on is $18 each / $21 int.
- BRuT poker deck single card case. $55 each / $65 international.
Stretch Goals. We have a few stretch goals we would love to see happen for this deck and for you!
- 50K - This one is soooo close!! Embossed linen finish on both tucks (right now we only have embossing on our BRuT tarot tuck). REACHED!
- 55K - Seal for both the poker and tarot deck tucks. REACHED!
- 65K - Printing on inside of both tucks.
- 75K - 2nd color BRuT poker deck!
Risks and challenges
Peter Dunham and Linnea Gits have been designing products for the market for over ten years. As designers and as consumers, we understand the need for delivering a high-quality product, represented as accurately as possible and shipped on time. We have had seven successful and completed projects on Kickstarter with over 8000 backers total. We have completed six of our projects on time and shipped to all our backers in the US and around the world within our promised delivery date with a 98% customer satisfaction rate. Our seventh project, "Uusi Classic", was successfully funded in November of 2014 and are on schedule to complete the project within our estimated goal date of May, 2015. We are committed to delivering a great product on time that you enjoy. Your happiness is our business!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter