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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Harris Soetikno of Explore Playing Cards [Updated]



I love travelling! The thrill of experiencing different cultures and exploring all the different landmarks from cities around the world. With that in mind, the guys at Cardazine used the excitement and thrill of travelling & exploration to create the Explore Playing Cards. This custom deck features 52 cities and historic sites.

Besides the unique illustration, this deck is very well thought out as well. Each suit features different types of cities to explore: Spades – Modern Architecture, Hearts – Romantic Cities, Clubs – Historic Sites & Cultural Cities and Diamonds – Popular Liveable Cities.

We had the chance to talk to Harris Soetikno of Cardazine about his first Kickstarter project, the inspiration behind Explore and the support from the playing card community.

Can you tell us about Cardazine and what is your design background?
Cardazine is a concept that I came upon late last year. At that time, I saw the playing cards community was already large in Kickstarter and projects upon projects just never fail to bring fresh concepts with great designs. I know that I want to start my own line of playing cards one day but the challenge is to offer something unique in a very crowded market.

So, Cardazine is a mashup of Cards + Magazine. I want to use the great visuals of playing cards to display and showcase a theme of information. Each release features a fresh theme and deck owners get to experience the theme through aesthetic design.


This is your first Kickstarter Project. Why Kickstarter?
The beautiful thing about Kickstarter is that it’s not just a selling platform, it is also a community. I first became a part of the community early last year, backing a couple of fashion projects. The thing that really captures me in my experience as a backer is that I get to help shape the outcome of a project. Backers have the opportunity to provide early feedback, suggestions and ideas to project creators. And seeing a project that I back get successfully funded, there’s that sense of a collective achievement between backers and the project creator. Kickstarter is very social-oriented, and I love it! I believe in this community.

What is your inspiration behind Explore Playing Cards? How did you come up with the idea?
EXPLORE’s inspiration is my own experience of planning for holidays. I mean, I know the type of cities that I’d like to visit but I don’t know a lot about cities to actually be able to decide on a destination. That’s where EXPLORE comes in. It’s like a catalogue of popular cities and holiday destinations around the world. Each suit features different types of cities to explore (Spades – Modern Architecture, Hearts – Romantic Cities, Clubs – Historic Sites and Cultural Cities, Diamonds – Popular Liveable Cities).

How much time was spend working on the deck? 
A LOTTT of time.

I first started to approach designers in August last year, lots of turn downs due to the project size. I had only finalised contracts and briefs with Daniel (the designer of EXPLORE) at the end of October. Since then, more than 140 hours have been spent on creating artworks for the court cards, tuck case and branding.

The project is also largely research intensive. Before getting designed, each destination is first researched and then, more research goes onto finding interesting landmarks to feature on the card. Finally, a lot of communications has happened too with the USPCC and other suppliers.


We initially noticed Explore Playing Cards on the Discourse Design & Development forums. What do you think of the playing card community?
The community has been real great in its support for this project. I started the thread on the Discourse to initially gain feedback on artwork and also to get Cardazine out there. It has attracted some valuable responses, but what surprises me is that a couple of private messages also came in from members to give me directions and pointers that the project can and should take. The community is willing to put in effort to help fellow members.

57% of the top projects in 2012 missed their delivery dates? What are your thoughts?
I think, the ability to meet delivery dates have a lot to do with managing uncertainties. In my own experience working with EXPLORE, a lot of these uncertainties come from working with a number of different parties (i.e. designer, manufacturers, copywriter, videographer).

As a project creator, I want to promise something to backers that are realistic to me and to the parties involved. In that manner, the delivery date that I set, is actually THE delivery date and not the “ideal” delivery date. And, setting that deadline requires a lot of communication and feedback on expectations with the different parties involved.

Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks? 
Theory11 Artisans, love the earthy feel to Simon Frouws’ design!


All the best Harris and thank you for your time, mate.

Explore playing cards will be printed by the USPCC and pledge starts from [Update] AUD13 (approx. $11.50) AUD$20 (approximately $18). The first deck will be due out to backers on June 2014.

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