utilware.com - art, productivity, stories, technology
homegetting sh-t donetoo damn tallabout

Bespoke playing cards.

My wife, the card shark

My wife loves playing card games. Oh boy does she love playing card games. A random spot check of her purse is guaranteed to find at least two decks of cards, and maybe an Uno or Skip-Bo hiding somewhere in the depths. Rumor even has it that her grandparents used to have big card nights at their house, moving the furniture out of the living room and filling it with card tables, folding chairs, and laughter.

Making our own deck

After we wore out a dozen or so decks of cards, I thought it would be enjoyable to make a deck just for our family. I did a little research, running across a bunch of interesting history and this comprehensive list of card nicknames on Wikipedia.

The first step was to create the basic components - the numbers, suits, and the sidebar (more on that later) - drawing them out on paper and then scanning them into the computer. Next, I used Adobe XD to lay out each card, assembling the various pieces and adding text captions. I used the excellent OpenDyslexic font for fast and easy readability in the heat of the game.

Once I got them laid out and settled, I ordered a couple of physical decks through makeplayingcards.com, and a week or so later they were in our hands.

Take a look

Here's a sampling of our family cards:

↑ A little topical swipe right reference, and another example of my ignorance about days past - didn't realize that handmaidens were only for women. But Lola saves it, right?

↑ I started calling spades "pokies" a while back, so a few riffs on the theme

↑ Well, the Queen didn't turn out quite right - I thought 'spaying' was gender-neutral

↑ I've taken to calling clubs "lumpies", and the three of clubs hints at a special type of berry

↑ For some reason I thought Jacks were jesters, so I made a crack about Jack losing his humor

↑ Lots of music shout outs this time: Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice, Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd. I got inspiration for the Jack, Queen, King, and Joker from cards in our house.

↑ Another musical reference with Neil Diamond, who I personally couldn't pick out of a lineup

What's with those squares?

Ah, the light gray squares down the sides of the cards. They represent the 13 cards in the suit, and the red one indicates the present card. The thought was that, when the cards were slightly splayed out in your hand, you could easily see which cards you had. But yeah, it didn't work out so well. I'll probably remove them in the next generation of the cards.

What's next?

I'd like to take another pass at the deck, fixing a few of the glitches (the seven of lumpies is missing a lumpie, and the four of diamonds is missing the diamonds, not to mention the things above), and perhaps trying a more luxe paper and print quality.


» See what else there is is on útilware.com