Art of Play brings gallant design to the lowly playing card

At our first Two5six, former Sims chief and Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble had one of the most poetic maxims on design ever: “The most interesting thing in the world is a deck of cards.”

That simple line gets at the vast complexity and imagination of play and the possibilities of designers to create a wide range and experiences–from Poker to Go Fish–from a simple set of numbered cards. But that doesn’t mean the cards themselves don’t need to be interesting.

“A lifestyle brand and design firm with roots in the magic industry” (a potential first), Dan & Dave Industries launched Art of Play which brings flourish to the simple playing card. With each new release, it’s looking to become a design-forward destination for the playing cards world. They also run a Kickstarter for playing card design called…Deckstarter.

One of the sharpest decks comes from Debbie Millman, host of one of my favorite podcasts Design Matters and chair of the masters in branding program at the School of Visual Arts. Millman wanted to break our expectations for what we see on playing cards and introduce the figures in a new way. “I wanted anyone encountering this deck to really SEE each card. The personalities of each card are inherent–they’ve been like this for eons. I wanted to redress the iconography, create new nuance and to give the cards a new identity,” she said.

You can see all the series here.

Pictures courtesy of Art of Play’s Flickr