Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Playing Cards

via Blueprint Magazine (RIP)

I have a weird thing for playing cards.  I don't really play cards, but I really really like them.  I'm always tempted by those luxury brand playing cards that are always in gift guides--you know, like Tiffany's or Hermes.  

But I really just enjoy the classic, graphic appeal.  Cards, as we know them, originated in the 13th century in Egypt.  As the cards spread throughout Europe, the suits changed....Latin cards had cups, coins, clubs and swords.

The Flemish Hunting Deck from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection

The French courts eventually spread the club, spade, heart and diamond motif.  So don't feel all Vegas theme party about the imagery--there's history.  It's basically medieval.

Jonathan Adler pillows (no longer available)

What you do with cards (tricks, magic, build card houses, poker...) determines what you are looking for in a printing--flexibility, etc.  Who knew?  Right now, we are mostly a Go Fish household.

Apparently, collecting playing cards is a thing.  You can just collect decks, or the deck and the uncut sheet.  And there is a webiste,  the Art of Play, for just such a need--it has some amazing decks....from $4 to $50.  I would totally frame the uncut sheets.

Classic, vintage or post-modern--they are all awesome.  How many things can you say that about?  To prove this point, here is some graphic eye candy to peruse.

Vintage Spanish Deck off Etsy.

This beauty from Misc. Goods, subject to this Kickstarter campaign (the videos have good card views).

Assorted face cards from Art of Play.  Don't forget about the backs.

I also like how mid-mod these flush printed backs feel.  Groovy if you are using them to play card games.

Let's stay classic for a while:

Now let's come back to modernity.

You can buy this off Etsy


  1. What is the origin of the design? Is seems that the Jack Queen and King have a visual consistency over time. Like the comedy and tragedy masks. What gives them their consistency.?The inversion of vertical images is interesting.

  2. I have always loved cards. A certain magic about the way they look and the games I don't understand. I have a stash- never sure what to do with them. Too funny