Playing card decks are traditionally a lot more involved than they seem. I set out to create a custom deck of playing cards using some more advanced vector techniques. They combine elements of simple recognisable shapes and patterns with complex Face cards and suits. There needed to be a focus on consistency, while at the same time making key elements unique to stand on their own.
In this project the constraints can also be seen as a blessing. There are 4 suits and 2 core colours. Making up the deck are 53 unique cards (Including the 1 Joker) and 1 Back design. The box art is often a simple Tuck box. Proper placement of each suit, number and face card is critical to ensure the deck is still functional.
“AFFLUENCE: The state of having a great deal of money; wealth.”
Crafting the Suits
I modified each suit to individual, minimal shapes. After moving to outlined versions I expanded by connecting the paths. This led to the key design of small suits, displayed on the corners. Later on, an outlined version became the core focus – to draw a connection back to the line work on the Face cards.
The Face Cards
After the suits were set and a lot of the numbered cards were laid out it was time to work on the Face cards. I already knew I wanted the Face cards to be retro inspired and multi-lined; now I just had to experiment with the widths and ends.
Playing cards often have a simple yet unique feature; mirroring. By mirroring the designs they cater for the quick scan, without mentally or physically needing to rotate the card. It’s a lovely bit of design consideration with the user experience top of mind. For my early line-work I drew on a 45 degree angle , quickly changing to 65 degree to keep the design centre-aligned.
The overall designs seemed to hold together, yet the thin ends made the design look weaker on certain angles and harder to see at distance. As this was to be a fully functional deck, a quick scan on a card should be without hurdles, no matter how small they are.
The back design was a great place to bring together all the elements from the various cards and the dual colours. The inspiration came from a mixture of the retro multi-lined designs and the “Gatsby” aesthetic. The ‘eye’ visual allowed a sense of depth, while also hinting at a “hidden” metaphor.
The Affluence Deck project was completed over a 4 week period. If you would like to see this brought to life let me know by tapping the Appreciate button!