From the team at Design Imperator based in Denmark, the Midgard Playing Cards are inspired by the Norse mythology. Having already hit it’s funding goal of kr85k (~USD$10.1K) on Kickstarter, there are two decks on offer in the campaign: the Danegeld (Black) and the Yggdrasil (Dark Red) Editions.
Both decks are fully custom, from the pips, fonts, values, courts and aces. The card backs are designed in the traditional 2-way layout and inspired by the classic Bicycle backs. The court cards feature legendary Viking leaders of Scandinavia and deities of Norse mythology. Illustrations are hand-drawn by professional illustrator Patrick Leis and lead artist Nicolai Aarøe.
Both editions feature deluxe sturdy tuck boxes with hot-stamped metal foil (silver foil on black tuck for the Danegeld Edition and gold foil on dark red tuck for the Yggdrasil Edition) and richly embossed artwork on all sides. Both with a numbered tuck seal applied.
We were able to catch-up with Marianne Larsen from Design Imperator for a quick chat about the team at Design Imperator, designing the Midgard Playing Cards and experience from their previous Kickstarter projects.
For those of us who don't know, tell us a little about yourself and Design Imperator?
Design Imperator is a group of Scandinavian based creatives and freelance artists. While the team is supervised by me, Marianne Larsen, the responsibilities of each task and job is handled and administrated by the best man for each job in any project. We have been engaged in the development of numerous independent projects since our team was founded in late 2011. With a passion and genuine interest in playing cards, we seek to consolidate ourselves as developers of unique and rare custom decks. Our flexible cooperation with talented artists forms a solid basis that helps us raise the bar with every deck we make. While Design Imperator is just a small team we aim high and have very ambitious projects in the pipeline.
Can you describe the Midgard Playing Cards and why you're passionate about it?
Midgard Playing Cards form a bridge between historic legends of Scandinavia and iconic deities of Norse mythology. Thor, Frejya, Odin and Loki are all represented in the deck in a hand drawn format and style that really strikes a good nerve. As Scandinavians ourselves we always had a passion for this culture and the sagas. This theme has been on the drawing board for a long time, but we needed to gain insight, a following and hands-on experience before pitching it on Kickstarter. This is our most ambitious project to date and we are proud to look back on the huge amount of work that went into, before showing it off on Kickstarter.
Walk us through the process you took to design this unique deck. How did you come out with the idea and how did you get to this finished product?
Presenting deluxe features in the base package is a rare approach for playing cards on Kickstarter. But we needed the decks to be very ambitious and impressive even in their basic form. We made numerous sketches and drawings and left them in a pot for some time before re-approaching the full design a few months after. This is a great way to approach a solid design with fresh eyes and spot all the weaknesses for a chance to improve the artwork. The courts, drawn by professional artist Patrick Leis in a coop with Nicolai Aaroe, really was our breakthrough because of their unique style, perfectly reflecting our vision of the Norse legends.
We have presented several deluxe features of both decks right from the start, but thanks to the amazing support we are witnessing the decks are now loaded with even more special features, such as interior artwork and added cards!
What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
While the custom courts really did take the decks to the next level for us we felt like the 'story-telling approach' to the tuck backs was a great way to present something new and creative to the industry of playing cards. Few decks does this, and the tucks of Midgard have so much thought worked into their design, with no details left on random or without a good reason to have them there. The two decks are unique and very different in appearance, but the story telling tuck back designs are our main breakthrough, presented in metal foil and with rich embossing.
You have successfully funded numerous Kickstarter campaigns. What are a few key elements and principles you incorporated into your project that you think future Kickstarter creators could benefit from knowing?
It is important to show that you care. Let it shine through that you are passionate about your project and not just hoping to earn a few bucks on a new platform. Our first two deck project, Noble and Chivalry, were both well funded and convincing in their own form. Our backers witnessed how we are just as passionate about fulfilment as we are about designing, and this is an important factor. For a chance to succeed with a great idea you need to convince that you are able to deliver when the time comes.
We have been open and transparent from the start and our backers have seen this from the start. To fund well you must earn the trust of backers, and on that note, it helps you if you are a backer yourself, and not just a project creator.
What's next? Can we expect to see more card designs in the future?
Absolutely! We have about five solid ideas for other projects, but they will be kept hidden and secret for now. Some of our projects take years to bring from a to b so we need to plan and strategize well before revealing anything about the these. We also have some ideas about the creation of a web shop at some point, but things take time, and we don't want to rush anything. In terms of playing cards project, we have some designs and themes that have been brought to an almost complete state.
These may be pitching on Kickstarter in the future, so stay tuned for more creative ideas coming your way. And on a closing note, Midgard Playing Cards may not be the last Viking themed deck you've seen from us, with Midgard hitting so many stretch goals already!
Finally, what are your favourite playing cards?
There are so many great designs out there. We could mention a favorite deck for every category out there, elegance, fantasy, historic, modern, etc. But if we have to pick just one out that really stands out from the rest we would probably go with the Arcanas by Chris Ovdiyenko. The amount of work that went into their design is extreme and obvious. Hand drawn illustrations are unique and personal in their own way.
Thank you for your time and congratulations on hitting the funding goal! The project is already 204% funded with 18 days to go. If you want to support the Midgard Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter here!
Pledge starts from kr89 (~USD$13) and the deck will be printed by the NPCC. Dealer coin, booklet, and deck pouch are available as an add-on.