Lorenzo Gaggiotti has just been unveiled as the artist behind the mysterious Stockholm17 Playing Cards. This deck was created exclusively for the launch of Cardlauncher. Besides that, not much is known about this deck.

From the teaser images, Lorenzo's use of simplicity, contrast and eclecticism can be clearly seen on this deck. For example, the diamonds courts have an Egyptian look, the Jacks have a side profile, the Queens faces the front and the King looks to the left towards the Queen (when they are put in the J,Q,K sequence).

The Stockholm17 courts incorporated one or more graphical elements taken and redesigned from the standard Tally-Ho from USPCC as a homage to the well known standard courts.

The Jack of Hearts



The Queen of Clubs



The King of Diamonds



Find out more about Stockholm17 Playing Cards here. Also, to see more exclusives and interviews, please follow us Facebook.




Introduction


The International Cardistry Open (#ico) is a global individual cardistry tournament. The goal is to determine the cardist who excel in all aspects of cardistry. This inaugural tournament is organised by theflush.com.au and supported by New Deck Order (NDO), Three of Clubs and Kardify. The tournament will begin in August and finish in September. Registrations opens on the 26th July.


Rules and Terms & Conditions


Please head over to theflush.com.au to read the full term and conditions of the tournament.



Tournament Format


#ico is a knockout tournament. Consisting of two classes: Beginner and Veteran. Each cardists in the Beginner class will compete in 2 rounds (preliminary and finals) and the Veteran class, 4 rounds (preliminary, round 2, semi finals and finals). Unsuccessful cardists are eliminated from the competition while winning cardists advance to the next round. The winners of the final round will be the #ico champion! Cardists will be asked to produce a 30sec video for each round. The format or content of the video will be announce on the first day of each round.

+ Veteran
August 1: Preliminary
August 15: Round 2
August 30: Semi-Finals
September 13: Finals

+ Beginner 
August 15: Preliminary
August 30: Finals


Judges 


The judging panel for this inaugural tournament consists of:
+ Jaspas Deck, Wold Kardistry Champion 13/14 and founder of NDO.
+ Lance Miller, playing card designer and founder of Lance Miller Cardistry
+ Joey Heininger, owner of theflush.com.au
+ Eli Retschlag, playing card designer and cardist on RetschlagMagician
+ Ivan Choe, founder of kardify

Veteran Class is judged on best demonstrated overall mastery of all aspects of cardistry, which includes execution, difficulty, creativity and presentation. Beginner Class is judged on demonstrated basic aspects of cardistry, which includes execution and creativity.



Sponsors



We have the biggest prize pool of any cardistry tournament to date and this does not happen without the generosity of our sponsors.

Richies Card Store
Card Launcher
Dead on Paper
Kings & Crooks
Design Killer
Tomlinson Cards
Half Moon Playing Cards
Max Playing Cards
Dan and Dave
Also a big thank you to Josh Kuperstein a trusted collector and trader.

Again, a big thanks to our sponsors!


Prizes




Can't do cardistry? Head on over to the #ico group page and participate: leaving comments on posts and feedbacks on videos to win yourself a few rare playing card deck from our giveaways when the tournament kicks off.

So, don't miss out! Join us and cardists of all skill levels from around the world over to compete, share ideas, and become the very first ICO champion.





Artists across history seem to have to face adversity as they move along their career, maybe that’s where the term “Starving Artist” comes from. The silver lining in many of these stories is that not only does adversity seem to make these artists stronger and more focused, but also seems to open the door to their true calling. Many of the people I talk to start off doing one thing, mostly out of necessity, to keep their families fed and the bills paid, but seem to find that light, that glimmer that keeps pushing them to chase their dreams and not give up………always gaining more focus on the bigger picture.

Robert Tomlinson is no different. RJ has worked hard to keep his dream alive, and it shows. Now in the middle of his 3rd, soon to be funded, playing card project on Kickstarter, Colonial Unrest, and RJ knows what he’s working for and has seemed to hit a winning formula with his historically themed decks.


RJ’s surrounded by a very artistic family, starting with his wife of 13 years Diane and their two children. It’s a true family affair. Robert was inspired at a young age, like so many others; by Disney movies and the intricacy and detail he would be in awe of when he would visit the Disney Theme Parks. 

Robert studied graphic design at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport PA. and upon graduating made a few stops working for various small town newspapers doing graphic design, page layouts and found himself steadily working up the ladder and eventually landing the position as Editor of a Farm Newspaper. While there was no doubt the hard work that Robert put forward showed, the lofty title didn’t exactly make his financial situation all that much better, small town papers just don’t pay as well. 


“Being a small community, graphic design jobs don’t pay what it takes to survive. The first few years of our marriage we knew what it was like to go hungry. There were nights when I would call my Mom to say I missed her cooking just so we could get something to eat.”

To make things better Robert found himself working in a factory for many years, in more of a hard labor situation stoking furnaces and swaging wire. Determined as always, Robert found himself once again moving up the ladder and into a Quality Control Group Leader position that he still holds today. But the way things are now days, the uncertainty is always looming.

“The pay is good but you always feel your job is on the line due to downsizing and outsourcing. Almost every year we have a sizable layoff. Last year I was only spared from layoff (about 30 more people and I would have been gone). In 2009, I wasn’t so lucky that year… my job was cut and I found myself on layoff for over 9 months.”


With time on his hands and needing to have an income, Robert returned to his graphic roots designing logo’s to make ends meet. Eventually Robert was called back to work, but this time it was very difficult to return, it was not as easy and once again necessity took the upper hand….but the creative juices were still simmering and Robert continued to take on graphic work on the side.

“It was at this time I turned to my graphic design roots to fight for survival.  I started doing logo design work to help make ends meet. When work finally called me back… it was hard to go. It was hard to leave something I enjoyed doing to go back to factory work. But in the end, health insurance and a steady pay check outweighs anything else.”

The everyday responsibilities of a regular job and the hours you put into that job sometimes start to eat away at your time, and that did start to affect the amount of time Robert spend on Graphic Design. With the every looming fear of being laid off once again, Robert started to find himself preparing for the unlikelihood and also stumbled across a crows funding site called Kickstarter.


“For a while I stopped doing graphic design work because I was working so much overtime that I didn’t have enough time for anything else.  But during last year’s slowdown where I was barely spared from layoff I decided it would be best to get things rolling so I would be ready for survival mode. That’s when I discovered Kickstarter and the world of playing card design.”

Wanting to make his mark, Robert took to Kickstarter to figure out what he could come up with using his graphic design skills, what would be the right product and how to go about making something that would get the attention of would be backers.

“I’ve always wanted to be able to create a product and bring it to the market place. Kickstarter just happens to be the best way of doing that. Playing cards happen to be the best product you can make because of their collectability. So, in the end, creating something for my kids to remember me by when I’m gone is also a big motivation when it comes to designing playing cards.”


That was then, this is now. Robert’s 1st two Playing Card projects, Civil Unrest and Global Unrest, both funded on Kickstarter and his current project Colonial Unrest has already funded and is still receiving backer support until Aug. 3 2014. The winning “Historical” formula seems to have found its market and Robert finds himself continually wanting to improve his skills to continue to offer better projects and creations. While Playing Cards are a wonderful foot hold for Robert’s talents, he also finds himself wanting to improve his career and life in other ways.

“My goals include improving upon my design skills at the same time build a foundation for a business that can help sustain my family if times ever get hard again. I would like to create a business that my kids can take part in as they become older. Currently, my wife helps me out a lot… so in many ways we already have a solid family business. Personally I would like to improve my health.”

Many Playing Card designers find themselves so attached to the cards they design they start to amass a collection of their own, and while Robert doesn’t consider himself a full blown collector, he does recall how history became such an important part of his designs process and his introduction into Playing cards. 


“Over the last year I’ve been collecting several decks of cards. But I’m not ready to call myself a collector yet. I mainly support fellow card designers on Kickstarter. I came to designing playing cards last year while we took a weekend trip to Old Sturbridge Village. When we were there we learned that about how early Americans produced playing cards featuring George Washington because they didn’t want anything to do with Kings and Queens. That little history lesson sparked my interest in playing cards. Later that summer we went to Gettysburg and realized it was the 150th anniversary of the battle there so I decided our first deck should be based on the American Civil War.”

The rest, as they say, is History. 

I can’t thank Robert enough for taking some time to collaborate on this piece; with running his current project his time is greatly appreciated. If you haven’t checked out Roberts current Project on Kickstarter, Colonial Unrest, you should, check it out and become a backer!

Before parting we did have a few more last minute question for Robert that he was nice enough to answer for us:

Why do your projects so connected to history?
History runs in my family. My father’s side of the family can trace our roots back to 1592. On top of the, we can trace every generation since we came to American in 1632. When you keep such detailed records you can make many connections to notable people. For example, we’re direct decedents to Gideon Tomlinson (former Governor to Connecticut). We’re also distantly related to several US Presidents and television star, Lucille Ball. To me, knowing where you came from is the best way to see where you’re going.

With a few successful projects under your belt, does it get any easier?
Yes and No. In the end, if you have a deck that appeals to people you don’t have too many issues getting it funded. With Colonial Unrest it was funded sooner (and the first time around). With both Civil and Global Unrest I had to retool and re-launch to get those two decks funded.

How much research and planning go into your playing card projects?
I spend anywhere from two to six months planning a deck of cards. A lot depends on how much already know about the subject. I’ve been planning my next historical deck (Titanic) for about five months now.

Are there any plans to create a deck of playing cards not using history as its concept?
Yes, I have a long list of projects I would like to do. Some of the projects I’m working with my wife on are more based on fictional stories rather than just history.

Any final thoughts or comments?
Over the course of the last year I was able to get to know several great people. I really appreciate the help and advice I’ve been given along the way.

Thank you Robert for the little look into your background and the future of TomlinsonPlaying Card Co. I’m sure that we’ll continue to see bigger better projects from you in the future and I'm sure we’ll be seeing your business flourish. 



This exclusive 1-on-1 is written by Anthony Ingrassia for kardify. No part of this article can be reproduced without written permission from the author. You can check out Anthony's awesome collection at sparkzcollector.






Historic. Elegant. Beautiful.

One of our most anticipated 2014 project, the Origins Playing Cards is inspired by the elegance and charm of playing card history. This deck has been meticulously designed by Rick Davidson.

All of the cards are individually researched and custom designed. The courts are beautifully illustrated, the detailed card backs features a metallic gold ink, the tuck cases are fully embossed and the box details are embellished with gloss gold foil, giving it a touch of elegance and sophistication. Absolutely stunning!

Limited stock available from JP Playing Cards. Use the code KARDIFY10 during check-out to get 10% off for orders over £50.




With the increased interest in crowd-funded playing card projects particularly on Kickstarter, we are publishing a monthly tracking report as part of our popular Analytics series. The goal is to give an analytical insight into the month-on-month performance of projects and how these numbers are tracking cumulatively year-to-date.

June was a quiet month and the momentum of the popular crowd-funding platform seemed to have slowed a little for playing card projects. Backers have been more cautious in there pledge pattern this month, mostly pledging for popular decks. The number of successful projects remained largely unchanged. The year-to-date (YTD) numbers continue to surpass 2013 numbers. The chart below describes how 2014 is tracking against the numbers from 2013 as benchmark.


Playing Card Projects 


The number of unsuccessful projects remains at 20% in June while % of successful projects ended close to last months number (33%).

Here is what the month looked like in numbers:



Projects launched in June were predominantly on the first half on the month.



Here's a look at how projects performed over the month, largely unchanged from last month.


Funding


A total of $765k was raised by all projects in June, basically on par with last month.



The Muertos- Day of the Dead ($160k) playing cards made it to the elite $100k club with a total funding of $169k! Amazing! After a slow start, the Muertos- Day of the Dead playing cards rocketed after going viral on 9gag on day20-23 of funding! Congratulations to Steve Minty!

Here is a look at the top 5 most funded playing cards:


The top 5 successful playing cards projects for the month contributed 78% to the overall funding of successful projects!

The average YTD funding goal of successful project continue to decrease. Currently, it is standing at $10.4k.


Backers 


This month, approximately 21.1k backers were recorded across all projects. The average pledge per backer for successful projects continue to decrease. This month it stands at $40.

Line chart below is a month-on-month comparison for 2014 with the 2013 curve used as benchmark. It is interesting to note that the average spent per backer seem to be trending downwards in the last few months. This could be due to a number of playing cards projects being launched outside Kickstarter and backers have been more conservative in their pledging patterns.



Top 5 funded Projects by backer numbers below:



Launched Projects 


Here are the top 10 most funded projects launched in June:



From the numbers this month, it looks like the momentum slowed a little due to news of alternative crowd-funding platforms launching in July/early August. We expect the numbers for July and most likely August to be similar to this months'.


Data provider:



The French Touch is a minimalist deck of playing cards, with character. The combination of colours from the French flag gives the deck an artistic and flamboyant look. Expertly designed by Fabien Defaucheux, the French Touch Playing Cards is a tribute to the old decks of 32 playing cards from France and Belgium, which were the first to use spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds suits.

The elegantly decorated French courts have also been meticulously incorporated into this deck. For example, a thick black diagonal line, with a row of white beads as a decoration, doubles the characters. Also, a large suit symbol, partially cut, is repeated by the index in the left corner. In the right corner, instead, the small index overlaps the most peculiar feature of the French pattern: the name of the court character, which each of the 12 subjects has been traditionally identified with. Note the indices are in French: V (Valet = knave), D (Dame = queen) and R (Roi = king). A very eye-catching deck indeed!



Fabien was nice enough to spend some time talking about his design background, the French Touch Playing Cards and the Instagram Playing Card community.

Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
My names is Fabien Defaucheux and I am a 22 years old cardist/flourisher and graphic designer. When I was a kid, I was drawing all the time and this is why I got interested in Art in general. I studied graphic design, architecture and art history for the last five years. Now, I always keep an open eye on what's going on in those fields. I never was really interested in designing something on the computer, I always used it for montages, or to enhance photos of mine. I started graphic design about 2 years ago using Illustrator.

This is your first crowd-funded playing card project. Why Indiegogo?
Well, it is impossible to use Kickstarter if you live in France (for the moment, hopefully). I could have done it with the help of somebody from outside the country, but I actually decided that I would do everything myself, and have a few friends of mine to promote the concept before the launch. I hope that being on Indiegogo won't prevent people from buying the deck. I mean, it is a crowdfunding platform like any other, and the red Fontaines were funded on Indiegogo.

What is the inspiration behind the French Touch playing cards and why are you passionate about it?
The main inspirations for this deck are the old decks of 32 playing cards from France and Belgium. They were literally the first to ever use spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds for the different four suits. I also love how the index of the cards are displayed and the names of the court cards is something very unique that I wanted to keep as well (yes, the Kings, Queens and Jacks have names!)

As for the name, French Touch, I think it's an expression that a lot of people use to describe something made by a French person. The « French Touch » that I actually refer to is the one that occured in the music area. All these musician like Daft Punk, Air, Kavinsly, Justice, Sebastien Tellier,  represent a group of french musician that took over the electronic music industry in the begining of the 90's and they were referred to as the « French Touch ». All the songs I used in the trailer and in the project video are songs from this era, and they have a very unique sound and feel that I really love.

I am really passionate about this because I believe that this project actually makes sense. It is a fully custom deck of playing card with French faces and colors and I really hope people will start using this deck and love it as much as I do.



How much time did you spend working on the deck and can you briefly go through the design evolution of one of your unique card design?
I've been working on my deck for nearly one year now, but it was a really slow process. As I said, I work as a graphic designer for a communication company, and I don't really want to keep working on my computer when I finish my day, even if it is for a personal project. I worked on this over the weekend or basically everytime I have some spare time.

Initially, I wanted to create a deck of cards that would feature a really simple back design. But then, after talking with some friends, I figured it would be fun to have classic French faces for my deck. These court cards are really different for what we use to have in the market. From that point I knew I wanted to do a fully customised design and again, it took me 2-3 days (litterally doing nothing but that) to complete the faces.

For the tuck case, I literally went through 3 different designs, but I wasn't satisfied with it. I ended up creating a box with inspiration from the Steamboat 999, that means illustrations and bold fonts on the edges.

From the French Touch playing cards project page, what are a few of your favorite reward levels and why? 
My favorite reward would be the t-shirts! I had my friend Benoit Pervier (@benoitpervier on Instagram) to create some unique photos to be printed on t-shirts. I'm really excited to see those printed, I really want the « French Touch » to be displayed as a brand and if the project hit the funding goal, I will be able to keep creating decks of playing cards, along with some cool products for magicians and cardists in general.

My favorite reward would be the uncut sheet, but also the deck it self, because if I ever happen to have those in my hands, that would mean that the project was fully funded. I really hope that people like the concept of this deck, I think the market needs more custom court cards like this, and also decks that have a story behind them (like the Ace fulton or the Virtuoso deck)

We first noticed the French Touch playing cards on your Instagram page. What do you think of the playing card community in terms of the feedback and support that you’ve been getting so far?
I feel very special to be a part of this wonderful community. The feedbacks I receive everyday is really something that pushes me to create and raise the quality of the photos I'm taking. We have some great products being released litteraly everyday, and I think it's fun being able to share and discover photos of cards that we don't know about. This is also Why I decided to tease my personal deck on Instagram, and I even created a new account for the French Touch Playing Card Co. People have been really responsive to my design so far, they like what I created and I really hope my deck becomes something people use in their videos and enjoy using in their performances.



Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks? 
My favorite decks of playing cards are the whole Smoke and Mirrors series. I was a huge fan of Si Scott's work even before it's collaboration with D&D and I was really excited when I first saw his design for the Buck twins.

The last decks these guys have realeased (Magic Con 2014, HMNIM) have a phenomenal finish and that's something they have always been known for. They keep pushing the boundaries of what is being done in terms of design and packaging and I really respect the work they do for every product they release.

Thank you for your time Fabien and all the best! 


The French Touch Playing Cards will be printed USPCC. Pledge starts from 8€ ($11) and there are multiple add-ons available such as uncut sheets, T-Shirts and Prints.



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