Top Deck (2)

My last post on letterpress was a little vague. Well, a lot vague really, so I guess I should explain a little further. I have been considering some possible new projects, mainly ‘old school’ letterpress but different from the short run abstracts that I have been doing up to now.

After a few days sketching out ideas I decided to make some typographic playing cards. Let me say this here first; this is not a new idea. Many people have made very a nice job of this, these people included:


But rather than follow them into the same territory and produce another set of typographic cleverness I decided to opt for a much simpler approach. Also, as I was going to produce them all by hand (and not farm them out to a commercial printer) these would be made in a very limited quantity, giving them a different status than a standard deck.

Letterpress playing cards are also nothing new. There are some lovely sets out there – I may just buy a set of these:
and I have been ogling these decks too:

There is a space for a different approach amongst these fine examples and so decisions were made to discard traditional conventions and typographic expectations. The first thing to go were the suit symbols. Yes, you read that right; playing cards without the suit symbols. Next were the numbers. Well, the figures at any rate – all were now to be spelled out fully

I had explored using Times New roman (mainly because I have a soft spot for the italics) and Rockwell because I have a decent number of weights and sizes, but in the spirit of the minimal approach I was taking I eventually opted for Univers Bold at 10pt.

I purchased a batch of pre-cut blank playing cards; blank both sides – I considered getting some ready printed with a pattern on one side, changed my mind when I saw this copper top block on eBay:

At the perfect size for me…

I’ll show the full image later on – this was just a quick test print!

The next stage is to plan out the layout for the cards and run some set up prints…


One thought on “Top Deck (2)

  1. Exciting! I’ve been wanting to design my own playing cards for some time now, I just haven’t been able to think of a theme for each suit…I always seem to get stuck at three. Looking forward to seeing what you create!

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