The Nouveau playing cards are inspired by the historical and mythological heroes and heroines traditionally featured in the French playing cards in the 16th century. Created by the team at Bona Fide Playing Cards, the art style and design are a tribute to the philosophical and artistic trend Art nouveau, promoted and popularized in France.
The deck have been expertly crafted. Fully custom, the Courts feature historical and mythological characters such as biblical King David, Greek goddess Pallas Athena, Roman leader Julius Caesar, legendary Knight Sir Lancelot and many more! The suits themselves represent different Social Orders. For example, Spade represent nobility, Hearts the clergy, Diamonds the merchants and Clubs the commoners and the peasantry.
We had a quick chat with Bona Fide Playing Cards on their design background, the Nouveau deck and their experience on different crowdfunding platforms.
Can you tell us about yourself and what is your creative background?
We’re a team based in Spain and consisting of three siblings aged 28, 26 and 23. Our grandfather was a painter and our father has great skill as well so since young we always enjoyed creating and drawing anything that came to our minds, though we never had further aspirations in the artistic world. As we grew older, studies and work left this hobby in the background until we discovered the fantastic world of custom playing cards and then we decided to give it a try during our free time.
What is your inspiration behind the Nouveau deck? How did you come up with the idea?
Aside from our creative background, we always enjoyed playing cards with our family and friends so we decided to create our own deck after discovering Kickstarter and the vast world of custom playing cards. When we came up with the idea of creating our own custom Bicycle deck, the most important for us was to think of a design with a rich meaning and detailed artwork. From then, deciding on Art Nouveau as our artistic inspiration was pretty easy; we wanted to join the history of playing cards, Bicycle and art all in one. The original playing cards as we know them today are inspired by the designs produced in Rouen, France, back in the 16th century. Those decks were the inspiration behind our court cards and suits. From there, we decided to keep it all French and look for an artistic trend contemporary to the birth of the Bicycle brand: Art nouveau.
Talk to us a bit about going from the first draft to the final version of Nouveau. How did you get to this finished product and how did you get feedback?
The easier part was to design the court cards; all we had to do was to portray in a realistic and Nouveau style the characters we took as a reference. The most difficult was to find the right back for our deck. We took Art nouveau mosaics as a reference and did several tries until we came up with the final design. We asked for feedback on playingcardforum.com and our social profiles; we studied the several options and opinions and finally decided on our current back.
Unfortunately, your indiegogo projects did not get funded. In your postmortem analysis, were there any take-away lessons and how did you improve on things?
As we mentioned before, we’re a team based in Spain. Kickstarter is living a big growth as the leading crowdfunding platform but it has yet to expand to other countries. That’s the reason why we tried the project twice on Indiegogo, though we knew it wasn’t the best choice for a playing cards campaign. That was the first and most important mistake and lesson we learned.
As for everything else, it’s our first deck (and project, for that matter) so every step of the way was a lesson, from the creation to the launch and failure of the project. The most important lesson was to have patience and not to give up, even after failure. We were lucky to find people ready to help us improve our deck and our funding chances. We still have a long way to go but we must say that without their opinions and advices, we wouldn’t have made it this far.
So far, what are the difference have you noticed between Kickstarter and Indiegogo?
The differences are many and not only noticeable for creators, but for backers as well. The main difference is the audience and orientation of the projects launched on both platforms, making Indiegogo suitable for a much reduced range of campaigns. The only advantage we found on Indiegogo was that it offers its services to creators from all over the world, unlike Kickstarter.
Another big difference between both platforms was a pretty important headache during our first attempts; Indiegogo immediately charges backers their pledges, with no way of changing the perks they pledged for and no refunds until the end of the campaign. Aside from this, the general running of both sites makes one a leader and the other a mere alternative so it’s obvious for both creators and backers that Kickstarter simply works better.
What are your thoughts about the continuous strong growth of playing card projects?
As anything regarding design, custom playing cards offer an infinite variety of possibilities for creators because there are no limits for our imagination, so after the success of the first projects it’s pretty obvious that many will want to give it a try with their own ideas. Another aspect that allows the strong growth of playing card projects is the wide and faithful audience of collectors, magicians and playing card lovers in general. Numbers speak for themselves.
Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
It’s hard to decide on a favourite one, but some of the decks we like the best are Heretic by Requiem team, Seven Seas Playing Cards by Brain Vessel Creative, Muertos by Steve Minty and Sherlock Holmes and Federal 52 by Jackson Robinson. We could keep naming but we’d never end.
Love the art style! Thank you for your time and all the best. If you like what you’ve read here and want to support the team at Bona Fide Playing Cards, you can find the Nouveau deck on Kickstarter here.
Nouveau will be printed by USPCC and pledge starts from $15. Add-ons such as uncut sheet, handmade wooden box, art print, T-shirt and hoodie are available. Also, there are multiple rewards that will be unlocked once the project hits their set stretched goals, most notable is the Nouveau Turquoise Edition at $30k.