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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Marco of Sub Rosa Playing Cards



From the team at cardsxiii, Sub Rosa is a charming deck of playing cards with artwork designed in a watercolor style texture. Currently funding on Kickstarter, the deck features a beautiful hand-drawn watercolor two-way back design with floral themes on a contrasting navy blue background, standard card faces updated with watercolor textures, beautiful custom Jokers and Ace of Spades. The deck is housed in tuck box with intentionally muted color tone to differ from the slightly more vibrant back design while preserving the similarities of each element.

We had a quick chat with Marco, one of the members at cardsxii and asked him about his group, the inspiration & design process behind the Sub Rosa playing cards and his favorite deck of playing cards.

For those of us who don’t know, tell us a little about yourself and cardsxiii?
cardsxiii (Instagram: @cardsxiii) was created more than a year ago on Instagram as a community of card lovers. We started by posting photos of our favorite decks, but soon after we switched to reposting amazing magic and cardistry videos which people submit to us. Today we are a huge community with over 20,000 members from all around the world.

What is your inspiration behind the Sub Rosa Playing Cards? How did you come up with the idea?
There were a lot of inspirations for this deck. Firstly, we wanted secrecy to be the idea for the deck. Being magicians, we like the idea of doing secret sleight of hand moves without spectator's knowledge. So we’ve chosen the name "Sub rosa”, which is Latin for “under the rose” and is used to describe secrecy. We’ve chosen the rose theme for the design of the cards in order to match the deck name. Also, we absolutely love the watercolor brush style, so we’ve decided to combine both ideas to create this design.


How much time did you spend working on the deck?
We’ve been working on the deck since March of this year. We didn’t want to rush it, so we took our time in order to design and perfect every single element of it. Also, we’ve gone through a lot of trial and error; if we weren’t a 100% happy with the entirety of the deck we’d redesign it and re-order the prototypes, even if it means waiting two to three weeks for them to arrive.

Talk to us a bit about going from the first draft to the final version. How did you get to this finished product?
The final result is worlds apart from the first draft. We’ve done a lot of experiments with the design: even the smallest idea would be further developed to see if it would be a good addition to the deck. For example, in the late stages of design, the deck even had a small hidden story in it. However, we’ve decided to remove it because we weren’t fully happy. Also, we’ve drastically changed the direction the design of the deck several times, which set us back a little but we are happier with what we’ve accomplished.


What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
While designing the deck, we’ve encountered a number of obstacles and much of them seemed impossible to overcome; sometimes we’d run out of ideas or we wouldn’t know how to bring them to reality. Overcoming each one of those obstacles was a big breakthrough for us. We’d be stuck at one point for a long time and finally finding the solution and continuing to move forward felt really great.

With so many playing card projects competing for funding, why should potential backers choose your deck?
We’ve noticed that a lot of today's decks are taking the minimalistic art direction. Just to be clear, we don’t think this is bad, in fact, we like the design of most of these decks. However, we do feel that our deck is more different than others and that it freshens things up the world of playing cards as well as in our potential backers’ collections.


Finally, what are your favorite playing cards?
Even though there are a lot of beautiful decks to choose from, I have to say that my favorite deck of playing cards is the classic blue Monarchs deck by Theory11. It has been my favorite since I’ve gotten into cards about five years ago. The design is just breathtaking. They really did a great job on it. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to create a deck that will match what they did with this deck.

Thank you for your time, Marco and all the best! At the time of writing, the project is 37% funded with 31 days to go. If want to support Sub Rosa Playing Cards, you can find it on Kickstarter here.


Pledge starts at €10 (~USD$12) and the deck will be printed by the USPCC.
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