When Donald Trump said the only card Hillary Clinton had to play in the US presidential race was the "woman's card", a brother-sister duo decided to make a whole pack of "woman cards". Zach and Zebby Wahls were so appalled by Mr Trump's comments, the pair launched a Kickstarter campaign to get The Woman Cards off the ground. The project, with a target of $5k, was funded in just over three hours. The deck features pioneering American women, from the Ace card (featuring Mrs Clinton) to the Queen of (featuring Beyonce).
Choosing just 13 influential American women for the first edition of the deck wasn't an easy task as there are so many extraordinary American women who have contributed so much to society throughout history. After choosing Mrs Clinton and Beyonce, the Wahls' crowned Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg the King of the pack. Also, the founder of American Red Cross Clara Barton was selected as the Jack card, with Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks and Dr Sally Ride just a few of the others chosen to make up the inspirational pack.
Between his busy schedule, we were able to catch-up with Zach for a quick Q&A on the Woman Card[s].
For those of us who don’t know, can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
My little sister is actually doing all of the illustration work for the deck, not me. She's 100% focused on the illustrations and design work, and I'm handling everything else, including running our Kickstarter, identifying our manufacturer, working on our fulfilment, etc. She is currently finishing her BFA in painting at the University of Iowa with an emphasis on illustration. She's also a staff illustrator for The Daily Iowan, Iowa City's independent student newspaper. I'm three years older than her, but she's been drawing for about as long as I can remember.
Can you describe the Women Card[s] and why you’re passionate about it?
The Woman Card[s] is a full 54-card deck of playing cards featuring fifteen original, hand-drawn portraits of American women who changed the world. Thirteen of the women appear in all four suits, and there are two jokers. We've settled on our lineup for the thirteen cards who comprise the 2 through the Ace, but we haven't yet settled on the Jokers. Each woman has a mnemonic corresponding to her rank. They're explained more in depth on our website.
Walk us through the process you took to design the deck. How did you approach this project and get to this finished product?
We haven't finished designing the deck just yet. After Mr. Trump's comments on April 26, we knew that we had to move quickly to capitalize on the momentum of the news cycle and get a minimum viable product online. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response we've received, we're not expecting to change the style of the illustrations or pattern at this time.
What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
Deciding that we would only stick with American women made the selection process much easier. At first, we were contemplating women throughout history, and it was just so overwhelming. And then my sister pointed out that we should just stick with American women, which would make the selection easier. Not that much easier, but easier enough that we were able to settle on a lineup fairly quickly after that. In terms of actual look-and-feel of the cards, I think my sister really found her stride on the third mockup she did, which is of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the King of Clubs. It was received incredibly well online.
From the project page, what are a few of your favorite reward levels and why?
Our most popular reward so far has been Reward Level 2, which is two decks and a signed thank you note from the illustrator. Zebby is going to have to sign a lot of thank you notes! Another popular reward is Reward Level 3, which is five decks and a full-size, 18"x24" print of any of the 54 cards. That's probably the level I would have picked if I'd stumbled onto this online.
You've received a lot of attention from the mainstream media recently. Can you tell us about your experiences with this?
We've received a ton of media coverage, ranging from our local newspaper all the way to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It's been surreal. Most of our pledges, however, have come from Facebook, and people sharing by whatever the social media equivalent of "word of mouth" is.
Finally, what are your favorite playing cards?
I love the feel of Theory11 cards if I'm feeling luxurious. I have a deck of Citizens and of Union. But when my family is playing Euchre, we're usually using a standard deck of Bicycle cards.
Thanks Zach, all the best! At the time of writing, the project is 2213% funded with 21 days to go. If want to support the Woman Card[s], you can find it on Kickstarter here!
Currently, over 2,800 people have backed the project have raised $110k. The decks will be hand-drawn and pledge starts from $15.