For my entire career, everything that I have designed has been for digital products. When I left my full time job last year, I wanted to design something that you could hold in your hand.
So I decided to design a Deck of Playing Cards.
I redesigned the suits using a common geometric foundation resulting in a design that's more refined and harmonious.
The suits are combined with the beautiful Verlag typeface, and together they form a design that's elegant and minimal.
The back features a radial motif design, inspired from the opening motion graphics sequence of the 2006 James Bond Film 'Casino Royale'.
To get the perfect color, I sampled the Jacket color of the Jokers from The Dark Knight and the 1989 Batman movies, and picked a refined version that blended the two together, whilst pairing well with the red I picked for the Hearts and Diamonds.
The cards will be printed on high quality paper from The United States Playing Card Company, and embossed with an Air Cushion finish. The company has almost 130 years of experience manufacturing Playing Cards, ensuring these cards will be exceptionally well made.
The color red used on the cards is Pantone 200. This particular red was chosen, because of it's close proximity to Pantone 18-1663 TPX. This is the color of the soles of Christian Louboutin's iconic high heels, which were worn by Claire Underwood in Netflix's House of Cards.
The Deck contains 52 cards, 2 Jokers, a blank card, and an edition card. The Edition Card will denote the deck as a first edition, which will be sold exclusively through Kickstarter.
The Limited Edition T-Shirt features the radial motif design. Using an incredibly high end screen printing process on T-Shirts from American Apparel, the application infuses the ink into the fabric instead of adding a vinyl-like layer on top. The result is luxurious and soft, and the design will never crack in the wash.
New: Now Available in Green, Blue, Yellow, Red, as well as Grey.
T-Shirts are 100% Fine Cotton, and are fit for Kings and Queens in XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL. (Mens and Womens sizes)
Customization & Extras
Additional Decks & T-Shirts
Additional Decks and T-Shirt can be ordered by simply adding extra money to your pledge. Just add $15 to your pledge for each extra Deck, or $20 for each extra Motif T-Shirt.
If you would like to write about these cards, you can grab higher resolution images from my Press Kit.
Behind the Scenes
The design process for this deck was very different than designing a traditional custom deck. To a casual observer it may seem obvious and easy, but nothing about this design was ever straight forward. Simplicity is incredibly difficult.
Here are some of the designs for the suit shapes. Originally conceived to be in a wireframe style, here you can see how the shapes evolved over time. At one point, I had designed a four-leaf clover to replace the clubs suit shape, because I wanted the deck to be 'extra lucky'. It also contrasted nicely with the diamonds square shape.
The deck also began as a more classic design. I had wanted to pick new figures from which to base the face cards off of. For the Queen of Spades I depicted Hangaku Gozen one of the few women Samurai, shown on the left in a very very rough sketch form. For the Queen of Hearts, I had picked Elizabeth I, represented here by a simplified version of the Tutor Rose. One of the Queens was going to be Boadicea, which is the title of the track used in the video.
As the design progressed, I moved away from representing historical and literary figures, and more towards iconic shapes. You can see this in the Queen card as it adopts the crown symbol from chess. As much as I loved many of these designs, they never quite felt like I had arrived at the best design.
With the face cards reduced to a simple icon, I wanted to do the same to the numeral cards. I came up with a single shape that could represent the value and suit of the card. By placing the suit in a simple geometric shape, you could effectively create an identity for each card.
In the process of copy-pasting, I had ended up pasting a deck with only the corner shapes, and nothing in the middle. It's stark contrast to every other design made it jump out at me.
I was incredibly nervous about using it as a final design. There was something very uncomfortable about it. I spent two weeks agonizing over whether or not to proceed with the minimalist final design. It was only after some push from designers whom I have tremendous levels of respect for, I decided to go all in with the ultra minimalist design.
Once the direction had been decided, the next step was to refine. You may not see a difference between the hearts at first glance, but there's a subtle pinching going on in the heart on the left where the curve of the circle transitions into the straight line of the heart. This was smoothed out whilst preserving the integrity of the shape. In the middle is the difference in the shapes overlapped. It's incredibly subtle, but it's part of the attention to detail that's gone into this deck.
The box design is the part of this project that as been very clear from the beginning. I had tried this early on as an experiment for the back of the cards, and loved it so much I put it on the box.
Here are some more cards from some of the different design directions.
Don't Know How to Play?
From Blackjack to Poker, you can learn the rules of dozens of card games from the Bicycle Rules website. They also have an iOS & Android app with rules for various games.
I want to thank the following amazing people for their wisdom, critique, advice, and friendship: Jeff Broderick, Brian Bennett, JD, Clay Herbert, Brian J, Michel K, Elle Luna, JM, Noona Nolan, Gabriel Ortiz, Adam Rodnitzky, Joshua Sortino, and all my friends who offered me support through this project.
Special thanks to the amazing staff at the USPC Co: Tiffany, Ruth, Ashley, and Nicole.
And an extra special thanks to Steve B, Iason C, Coen B, and Rósín Murphy for allowing me to use one of my favorite tracks of all time in the video, Boadicea.
And thank you to you for checking this project out. I hope you love these cards as much as I have loved designing them.
"Boadicea" Performed by Mason featuring Rósín Murphy. © 2011 Animal Language. www.facebook.com/musicofmason
More About Me
Risks and challenges
The design, planning, and budgeting portions of the project are complete. I have already established a relationship with the USPC Co. and they're ready to accept the final artwork pending the successful funding of the project.
I'm working with one of the best screen printers in the country to produce the shirts, and in addition to producing them, he will also be handling fulfillment, ensuring professional grade turn-around times once the cards and T-Shirts are created.
I've left a generous amount of time to have the project completed by, to ensure that any unforeseen production hiccups will be able to be resolved without delaying the delivery expectation set by the campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)