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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Alex Chin on Magna Carta



UPDATE 08/05/15Join the Magna Carta Launch Event on Facebook to guarantee you don't miss out!

Alex Chin and Seasons Playing Cards has always delivered elegance along with functionality. The design elements used in the four "Seasonal" Seasons projects are bold and beautiful in their detail.

This month Seasons Playing Cards adds to their line with Magna Carta, a slightly new direction from Alex Chin, but still featuring the look, feel and detail of Seasons Playing Cards. Scheduled to launch on Kickstarter August 11th the anticipation has already begun. 

We had an opportunity to chat with Alex about the new project and it's inspiration recently for our readers and we hope you enjoy some of the background to Magna Carta. 

With all four previous "Seasons" decks being so closely tied together, what inspired the change of direction?
I've always wanted to create a series with more traditional elements. I tend to prefer more conceptual themes and direction but it was really important to myself to demonstrate growth outside of that realm by trying out different styles and subject matter as long as the decks remained timeless. This year the Magna Carta turned 800 years old and when I saw that it became a great way to learn a new style while honoring such a momentous document.

With the Historical background of Magna Carta, how much research went into the concept of the project?
A LOT haha. I have a new found respect for decks based around actual historical events, especially those earlier than the 1800's. Usually when you pick a theme you do your due diligence in making sure the elements you pick are congruent with the subject, but that's about where any formal research ends. Having based this off of such a specific event made what was acceptable much stricter especially since the time period was 1200. The King wasn't exactly taking selfies back in the day so finding proper references of the people you picked, what they wore, and the elements that were seen back then were much harder. 


 Even the famous image of the Magna Carta signing we all know turned out to be improperly illustrated which surprised me. It shows the King signing the document when during that era Kings would use their official seals instead. Part of the storytelling in this series required me to recreate this famous scene. So when it was time to illustrate there were a few artist reinterpretations I took advantage of. I'm sure there will be a few details that some historians might call me out on, but the artwork was done with the highest integrity in mind and the overarching goal to make sense with the series as a whole. 

Did Magna Carta present any unexpected challenges, project related or as a designer?
Research and style were probably the two biggest challenges probably because the event dates so far back. As I said before figuring out the right symbolism, heritage, translations, etc, were all unexpected challenges.  
Learning how to marry the old illustration style of the 1200s with the clean elegance of what our supporters are used to getting with Seasons also took some fine tuning. At one point our Rebels deck had distressed texturing with the deck, but it turns out that was one line that went too authentic. I'm happy to say now though that the style I've ended on is high on detail with a polish of grace that I'm sure our supporters will love. 

What elements of Magna Carta excite you the most?
Physically I think the King's seal is pretty amazing. It's this wax stamp that was impressed on both sides to create a pendent that hung from any document. The idea that anything could be authenticated by this one coin instead of by signature was pretty exciting to learn about.  
Conceptually I think the timelessness of the Magna Carta really spoke to me. In reality the Magna Carta at the time was just this piece of paper that got annulled a couple months after signing. It shouldn't have been such a big thing. But over time it got picked up again and again and actually became the foundation of liberty and democracy today, not just overseas, but throughout the world.  The document evolved from a temporary fix into this timeless symbol of human rights that affects a lot of us today.

Will Magna Carta follow the path of your previous projects and be available in various versions?
Absolutely. I strongly believe in storytelling and it's extremely hard to do that with just one deck. Once you introduce a second comparison object, a relationship can occur between the two items where you're allowed a lot more depth.

Do you have any plans for any unique rewards once the project launches?
I want to try to keep this Kickstarter simple in the beginning until we at least reach our goal.  There's one or two rewards that I'm pretty excited for but don't want to announce them until partially into the campaign when I can see if we have the funding to do it. 

Is there any NEW tidbit or information you can share with us about the project?
Absolutely. Here's a first look at our Rebels deck.

EXCLUSIVE: Rebels back design
We want to thank Alex Chin for his time and the opportunity to reveal the Rebels Deck to our readers. Mark your calendars for the launch of Magna Carta on Kickstarter August 11th, you won't want to miss this project. 

You can follow the progress of not only Magna Carta, but all things Seasons Playing Card related by following them on their Facebook page and if your new to the Seasons Playing Cards in general, you can pick up some of the companies previous projects on their official web site here!

UPDATE: Join the Magna Carta Launch Event on Facebook to guarantee you don't miss out!
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