Jared Hansen is a bit of a "Jack of all trades". His background is quite varied and includes serving his country as a Marine for almost 8 years. Though his road is diverse, his love and practice of Magic for over a decade brings him to his latest endeavor's, one of which is the Espresso Design Group to help freelance artists reach their potential, the other is this intricately designed custom deck of cards, The Architect. The Architect truly comes across as a labor of love.
The project is currently live on Kickstarter, where you can pledge for a deck of your own as well as get more information on Jarred and the project. While running a campaign is stressful and the time devoted to it seems never ending, we were honored that Jared had put aside some time to do a little Q&A with Kardify and it's readers. Enjoy!
Did your background in magic influence you to produce your own deck?
Absolutely … I think it would have never really occurred to me to create my own deck of playing cards until I was exposed to custom decks through websites such as Ellusionist and Theory 11 and others. I have been designing professionally for over 15 years now and it wasn’t until I got into magic that I realised what a great combination it was. As soon as I bought my first deck, I thought to myself.. “Huh.. I think I can do that.”
What inspired the look and concept of The Architect?
The concept was all about inspiration and living by design and with purpose. Architecture to me is design with purpose, which illustrated that concept beautifully. As a designer, it is sometimes hard to express abstract ideas, so you need concrete vehicles to deliver those deeper meanings and in this case, architecture fit perfectly. This is why there are no famous architects and a limited amount of architectural elements. I was asked “Why not name it The Architects?” I responded that I purposely named it ‘The Architect’ to insinuate singularity… meaning YOU, the person holding the deck is ‘The Architect’. I just recently learned there was a “blueprint” style design called Revision 1 by Adam Clarkson, which is a more literal take on drafting and design, where as my deck is more a metaphor really. Having said that, I have a few friends who are actual Architects and they wanted to know who the court cards were and after finding out they said it was really cool and unique. It’s nice when you name your deck The Architect and it’s not really about architecture and actual architects like it.
Did you have a specific audience in mind when developing the deck?
That is a tough question to answer. Whenever you design something you intend to sell, you need to be sure that it has marketability (meaning something people would buy) otherwise you run a higher chance of not being successful. Having said that, you also have to keep yourself happy and inspired, so that the artwork feels inspired and is something the artist is proud of. For The Architect, I felt it was more of a challenge for me to create something simple yet complicated at the same time. I really wanted to appeal to a broad range of people.. those who liked simple things and those who liked the more “busy” designs. I feel this really captures both of that without being over designed. When designing cards, it is really easy to over design and under design as well. You just have to find that balance.
Do you have a "Creative Process" you go through when working on a concept or design?
I do and it involves copious amounts of caffeine. I think it is different depending on the deck … with this deck I wanted to take my time, so I was able to stop and go.. meaning I would only work on it when I felt inspired.. that way I was not forcing it. I think it is important when designing to not force it. Obviously as a designer you have deadlines, so you have to get into different mindsets depending on the situation.. but with this deck I was able to take my time and I feel it shows.
But to answer your question.. I think my creative process is just really a combination of just digging in and throwing something together as soon as it hits me and then going back and refining.. I will do that a lot before I find something I can refine even more. I would send out several rendition of the back design and courts to people and redo them according to their feedback. I think I went through 4-5 different court card renditions.
My main process is mostly just time and getting it right. I am also very lucky to have people like Ning Cai, formerly known as Magic Babe Ning and Raymond Singson, a forum moderator for Ellusionist to help me get it right. There input was very valuable to me. There are several others that had input but those two probably had the most.
Outside of the Ace of Spades, the Jokers are usually a unique part of a deck, why Salvador Dali?
Obviously, DaVinci and Dali are not architects.. but it’s not really about that with this deck.
I think that I chose Dali for a few reasons.. for one.. his face and moustache just stand out and make you take notice and it just looks cool.. secondly.. he is one of my favorite artists and his style & creativity really inspire me and I just felt he would make a great joker. Most jokers you see have defined bodies and sometimes are not even people. This is just his face, which even if it were not Dali, would make it stand out.. but add a crazy moustache and there you go.. Obviously the ‘O’ in Joker is an homage to his melted clocks painting, which he is famous for.
What are some of your favorite decks or designers?
That’s a tough one.. there are so many great designers and teams out there right now that I really like. I absolutely loved Requiem’s Heretic deck.. It’s decks like that .. that make you go “F**K” want to trash my project. I also like what the Passion team from Italy is doing right now..They have a lot of great things in the works. I love supporting good decks and also supporting the not so popular decks as well. I think it is important we support one another since it is such a small community. We all want the same thing.. to share our love for art and playing cards with the world.
What are your thoughts on the boom in he playing card industry over the last few years?
It’s been fun to see and be a part of it. I think that at the moment, the industry is saturated but that is only because of the demand. As technology improves, it allows more people to express themselves creatively and opens up more opportunity for others to follow suit. The other side of the coin is that in order to stand out, you really need to bring your A game, which is great for the consumers as well as the designers. I think seeing so much artwork and more people giving critical and sometimes even mean feedback, really pushes you to do something great. Playing cards have been around for centuries so I think it will be here to stay and just keep getting better.
We want to thank Jared for taking the time to chat with us, we wish him nothing but the best on his project. Take a moment to check out The Architect on Kickstarter and pledge for your reward, it's always appreciated when someone puts work into their vision and dream