ICON Playing Cards is created by a talented young cardist, Benji Taylor. This minimal, simple and quirky deck came together when Benji realised from his sketchbook that some weird random icons when put together could make a stylish deck design.
Benji was nice enough to have a chat with us about his design background, the inspiration & design evolution of the Icon and support from the playing card community.
Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
My mum is an artist and so growing up I have been able to experience that world quite a bit from art fairs etc. I have also always loved to draw, just random doodles mainly. It was only after I got my laptop that I really started to experiment with different types of design. The internet is amazing for me, it's a great way to be inspired and also learn pretty much everything you need to know about what ever you want to know about, the rest is just practise!
You are an amazing cardist! What motivated you to create your own deck of cards?
Haha, thanks! I think it was when I went into my local magic shop and picked up an awesome deck I had never seen before. I asked the guy working there who had made them and he said it was an independent design by one person on Kickstarter. I had backed projects on KS before but had never though to search up playing cards let alone design my own deck. After that I knew I wanted to do it.
What is your inspiration behind Icon? How did you come up with the idea?
I couldn't think of a solid theme, I had all these ideas in my head that could of worked but I also didn't want to limit myself to one solid thing. I drew down a bunch of little ideas in a sketchbook, when I looked back at them and saw what were all these random icons, I decided that if I couldn't choose one that I liked best, I would use every single one that I had done! I drew them out neat, scanned them in, went over them and then put them all onto a back design! That is how Icons came about.
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?
In total, I probably spent near to 5 months designing this deck. Everything else aside, just focusing on design, around 5 months. Some might think that is quite long considering it is not fully custom and is just the ace, box, back and jokers but I wanted every detail, every letter space on the tuck, to be just the way I wanted it. I also kept coming back to it, I would save something and then a day later change it all again till I was happy. It took me a long time just to get the colour the exact shade I wanted it! (it doesn't help that I am colour blind either..) Originally it was going to be a one way back with different icons than there are now, and was going to be a dark brown... This just shows how much things can change from the first try to the final product.
We initially noticed Icons on your Instagram account. What do you think of the playing card community and the support that you’ve been getting so far?
The response from icons has been overwhelming and generally amazing from the word go. When my good friend Franky Morales and I shared the first photo on Instagram we started getting lots of messages and comments asking where they could buy one of these decks. We released photos bit by bit and tried to not give too much away. Over time we developed a big group of people who were incredibly supportive and kind who are now the people backing the deck. One thing I have learnt along the way is that you cannot please everyone and this is a very valuable lesson to learn. You cannot keep changing things until you please everyone because you simply cannot please everyone. If you are truly proud of something you have done then be proud of it. All in all I think the community is great, they are supportive, communicative and kind and I hope it will all continue to grow.
What are your thoughts about some concerns regarding the shipping and fulfilment of Icon?
With the help of my whole family the idea will hopefully be to create a human conveyor belt and get everything packaged and sent as soon as possible. I think problems with shipping will always arise and it's not always possible to stop these things from occurring but I will make sure to work around these issues so that every backer gets what they have pledged for and is satisfied.
Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
My favourite decks... I would have to say.. Absolut Vodka, Fulton's China Town, Virts, Watermelons and Private Reserve? Those are just a few, I have so many!
Thank you for your time Benji and all the best! If you like what you’ve read here and want to support the Icon Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter here.
This deck will be printed by the USPCC with linen finish. Pledge starts from $16 and there are multiple add-ons available such as Icon t-shirt, Icon Anything is Possible bottle by Jamie D. Grant and Joe Porper Card Clip.