Created by Stacey Kelly, Fishing for Compliments is a beautifully illustrated set of fish themed playing cards. The artwork and style is visually pleasing, with the theme focusing on fish that thrive in fresh water and rivers. This unique deck of cards is a celebration of the prize breeds of freshwater fish.
A lot of thought have gone into the design and illustration of this deck. For example the face cards, the fish are laid out in a symmetrical fashion so the cards can be read from anyway up. The aces features fish hook design and the backs have this unique design which uses the fish logo found on the tuck box. The overall style of the cards converges art deco with bold vector art to create a unique and classic looking deck.
Just prior to the launch of the project, we had a quick chat with Stacey about her design background, the inspiration & design process behind this unique deck and her favourite reward level from the project.
Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
I am an English illustrator who began digital design as part of a travelling T-shirt printing company. Creating custom digital artwork in the presence of customers accelerated the performance of my imagination. I then became involved with several street art organisations, creating large street art at city events using fully biodegradable materials.
I studied Animation & Illustration and my digital art skills increased fuelling a wider knowledge of creative formats. This interest in presenting information visually landed me with a role in the BBC Learning infographics team. It was here that my knowledge of contemporary vector design was amplified and my imagination became fully integrated with digital techniques.
Working under the title Pixel Initiative, I have built a worldwide roster of clients for my graphic design & illustration business. I have a vivid understanding of audience driven illustration, but I am also able to make bold steps that challenge archetypal boundaries. My passions include illustrating stories and game concepts. The amalgamation of fine drawing skills and design software, allowed her to realise her dream of becoming a full time artist. I trained with a board game concept company and was able to test lots of prototypes, this is one of my main inspirations and I also have some board game designs in preparation in addition to my playing cards.
Can you describe the Fishing for Compliments deck and why you are passionate about it?
I chose fish for the first topic as fresh water fish are creatures that entice us, in many cases to sit beside the water for hours hoping for that snag on the line, so we can catch a glimpse. I wanted to celebrate the different species of fish with this bold style combining Art Deco with bold crisp vector illustration. I think that my deck really maximises the space on the playing card. They are unique and I can imagine a wide range for the future all using the same style. I like to picture two friends fishing riverside having a quick game of go fish with these....
When did you first start thinking about using Kickstarter for the project? What made you decide to take the plunge?
Kickstarter fills me with hope. I get lost for hours looking through the ideas and success that people have and it blows me away every time. It levels the playing field for all inventors from any background. Inspiration and passion are rewarded with possibility on Kickstarter. I decided the time was right once I had revised project details from successfully, funded decks and ones that were not very successful and tried to draw reasoning for the successes. It seemed that certain things like, visibility of printing information, quality design and of course enticing rewards. I had to ensure that my rewards where logical as incremental steps. I would love to continue using Kickstarter for further ranges if this first deck is successful.
Walk us through the process you took to design this unique deck. How did you get to this finished product?
My deck started with an aquatic illustration, I have always wanted to build a range of cards. I realised I could illustrate species of animal with this new style and I had 13 card faces of design space for each suit. I used vector-drawing software to construct my designs and I chose to work with a limited colour palette to tie all the cards together. I used lots of photo reference to ensure that the fish were life like and the key features of each species where accurately portrayed in the designs. I am really please to have invented a deck that is 100% illustrated there is no space on any of the cards that is left blank. This is a labour of love for me.
How did you get feedback?
Many of my friends are fond fishermen so early on in the process I started taking print outs of the designs to gatherings and asking their opinions, they helped me capture some issues with certain fish features so it served me well. Thank you to my personal consultants. Then I began sharing my preview link and designs digitally with all kinds of people with a range of interests from illustrators, fishers and also poker players.
I listened to every shred of advise and made alterations were needed, I actually used the same colour for the card backs as the card faces originally until someone pointed out that it could be very difficult when dealing the deck to recognise whether your card is the correct way round. So I changed the colour to purple, this I felt was a vital piece of feedback although it seems obvious once you realise. In the final stages I added my deck info to the unitedcardists.com forum. Within the first 16 hours my deck had had 430 views and lots of really useful comments. That was a rich experience and I would recommend, to anyone starting a deck design.
From the project page, what are a few of your favorite reward levels and why?
I have offered to illustrate the backer’s portrait into one of the card designs. I have shown a demonstration of John Cleese’s face illustrated in this way so backers can see how it would be look, this could be really fun for many backers. This is available to any backers over £96, they get a brick of 12 deck’s and a print of any card design also.
Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
Here is a deck with such a striking beauty by Pocono Modern. I really love the Ultimate Deck by Dan and Dave and UUSI's Royal Optik has a great Tuck Box design in my opinion.
Love the art style! Thank you for your time Stacey and all the best. If you like what you’ve read here and want to support Stacey, you can find Fishing for Compliments on Kickstarter here.
Fishing for Compliments will be printed Legends Playing Card Co. Pledge starts from £7 (approximately $11) and there are multiple rewards that will be unlocked once the project hits their set stretched goals, most notable the embossed tuck on pearlescent speciality paper at £8k.