Earlier this year, a teaser of LUXX was revealed to the customers of JP Playing Cards and this has generated quite a buzz around the playing cards community. Created by Paul Middleton and designed by the talented Randy Butterfield, their aim was to create a beautiful deck of playing cards which still have some traditional elements - to appeal to as many of JP Playing Cards' customers as possible ranging from magicians and cardists, to collectors and amateur poker and card game players. Finally, LUXX is available as a pre-order from JPPlayingcards.co.uk.
When the first teasers of LUXX were released in March, we reached out to Paul and had a quick chat about his motivation for creating his own deck of playing cards, inspiration behind LUXX, working with Randy and his thoughts on crowd-funding.
From running jpplayingcards.co.uk, one of the fastest growing online playing cards store in Europe to creating your own playing cards. What motivated you to create your own deck of cards?
I guess it probably started when we first realised that Lawrence (LPCC) was opening up his printing company to work with third parties. His Legends decks have all been extremely popular with the majority of our regular customers and so the motivation became to produce a deck that was practical yet beautiful. An elegant deck of cards that was still something that would be opened and enjoyed. With that in mind the aim has been to go with traditional recoloured courts with a beautiful at of aces and back design. Something we can be proud of as a small family business, and a deck we'd enjoy using ourselves too.
Can you describe the LUXX playing cards and why you’re passionate about it?
The LUXX cards will be elegant, intricate and beautiful whilst remaining practical and fun to use. I've even passionate from the start about seeing these cards be used and enjoyed and the best way we can do that is to make them affordable and accessible, but still with a luxury feel. So we'll do our best to keep the price realistic and we're also planning a potential reprint in the future so we can stock it as a running line in our store. We're working on ways to make the first run special though, so collectors will have something to cherish.
When the teaser image of LUXX was released in January, many were pleasantly surprised to find out that Randy Butterfield created the design. How did you and Randy end up working together?
We had initially agreed to work with a UK based design agency who I was in regular contact with. Shortly before work was due to start I got the feeling that or work was last in the line of a long list of priorities and I began having doubts. I've been talking with Randy of and on since the inception of our company as he's always been very friendly and generous with his time. I can't remember the specific email conversation but I ran the idea past him on the off-chance and he said yes rather unexpectedly. If I'd realised that we would have asked him first! He genuinely is one of our favourite playing card designers.
What role did you play in the art direction and how much time was spent working on the deck?
Realistically - I wanted to give Randy a framework for the deck and the idea and then go with it. I'd told Randy from the very beginning that it was my intention to let him design and to trust his skills and experience. There have been a couple of occasions when I may have had a different opinion to Randy but ultimately I've tried to stay true to my word about trusting his opinion and instincts, after all - we're not designers and Randy is the one with huge successes behind him.
Are you planning to release more decks in the future?
The simple answer is no, we'll see how this goes first of all. Our business has grown at a reasonably fast pace and we don't want to bite off more than we can chew, so to speak. We'd love to produce more decks, but have no plans right now.
Update: Paul pointed out that there are plans for a second LUXX for sure. When and how is up for discussion at this point. That is good news! :D
Do you see the continuous strong growth of playing card projects on Kickstarter as a trend or or fad? Why?
Great question. It's very hard to say to be honest. It's pretty clear that Kickstarter is here to stay in the playing card industry. It's become a big part of the market in recent times with the surge of independent using the crowd funding platform. My own personal opinion is that I'd love to see it being used to actually Kickstart a business rather than be a pre/order process for each and every deck that is created by a company. That being said, it's a risk free no lose situation - who wouldn't be happy with that?
Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
As a family - the cards we love the most are Aurum from Encarded, Royal Optik from Uusi, Mana v1 Oracle and Randy's Ornates - but my personal favourite would have to be either the Ornates or Aurum.
I want to thank Paul for his time and sharing about the beautiful LUXX Playing Cards. You can also check out the wide range of playing cards available from JP Playing Cards here!