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.