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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Edvin Krishtofor of Gracia Playing Cards


Designed by the team at Empire Arts Co from Estonia, Gracia is a unique deck of playing cards seeking funding on Kickstarter. The deck features gold foiled ornaments on a dark blue tuck box and a fully custom artwork on the face cards. According to Edvin Krishtofor, founder of Empire Arts Co, the faces were drawn by 12-14 years art school students with the aim of coming up with something different based on standard playing card faces.

The result was extraordinary and the vision of the students amazed the team. As such, they would like to save their work on something special and decided to use it in a deck of playing cards. If the funding is successful, Empire Art Co are going to give to each student a deck of Gracia.


We managed to catch-up with Edvin to chat about Empire Arts Co, and the idea and design evolution of Gracia Playing Cards.

For those of us who don’t know, tell us a little about yourself and Empire Arts Co?
We are a group of freelance artists based in Northern Europe. We have finished the art school and we think that we pursue our future with creativity and art. Also, we have other hobbies like magic and cardistry, so those hobbies put us on the path of playing card design and development.


What do you guys love most about being a designer? And what are some favorite projects you guys have worked on?
We love the way we can use our intellect and creativity so widely in our job, we love the feeling of being able to make the world just a little bit better. Design as a discipline never stands still and as designers we are constantly developing. First playing card designing experience was Arbores deck and it was our one of the most beloved projects. One member of our team was working on "Luxuriosa” playing card deck which was also successful.

Can you describe the Gracia Playing Cards? and why are you passionate about it?
The dark blue background brings out the gold ornaments on the tuck case. All the Gold parts of ornaments will be foiled, including text such as "Gracia", Tuck sides, bottom and other elements. The fine detail of each hand drawn card is reminiscent of a hard working. Gracia will have a print run of 200+. Each deck will be numbered and this deck will never be re-printed. We don’t know how, but somehow we were able to combine simplicity and complexity in this deck, so we like the result.

Talk to us a bit about going from the first draft to the final version. How did you get to this finished product?
Our work is always distributed, everyone does their part. Our main artist drew backgrounds, ornaments and icons like spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds for about 2 months. I was working on Gracia back and tuck box. I drew all tuck box ornaments and animals on paper and then worked with graphic editors. There was much discussion, ideas and work with children for card faces experiment, so it took about six months, but through the efforts and teamwork, we made it.

How did you get feedback?
We do a lot of graphic designs and paintings for art schools and schools in our country and always have a positive feedback from teachers and viewers. Also, we got positive feedback from social media about our last project called "Arbores“, which was successfully funded.


With so many playing card projects competing for funding, why should potential backers choose your deck?
This project is interesting because it uses a lot of foil. Gracia will be a wonderful part of the collection of any magician or cardist. Also, we have connected 12-14 years old art school students to make paintings of the faces. We carried out a survey the aim of which was to see how children can make something different based on standard playing card faces. The result can be unusual and irregular, but the vision of students amazed us! We would like to save their works in something unusual and we decided to use it in our deck of playing cards design. After we are going to give to each student one deck of Gracia, as a thank you.

Finally, what are your favorite playing cards?
Hmmm… We think Madison Blanks :D To be honest, we have always liked the harmony of colors and elegant design of Virtuoso SS16.

Thank you, Edvin and all the best! If want to support Gracia Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter here!


Gracia will be printed by TM Cards and pledge starts from €12 (early bird). Gracia will have a print run of 200. Each deck will be numbered and will never be re-printed.
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