1-on-1: Randy Butterfield

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1-on-1: Randy Butterfield

Most of us go to work each day, put in our time, come home and relax. We kick off our shoes, sit in our favorite chair, have a bite to eat and spend some time with our family or significant other. As the night winds down we get ready for a good night’s sleep, just to be ready to face the next day’s challenges.  Not Randy Butterfield, nope when most of us, certainly his family, head for bed, this Night Owl creates some of the most stunning designs card aficionados have ever seen. 

Randy grew up in a small country town just outside of Michigan. The oldest of 4 boys, Randy’s childhood home still stands on a dirt road where his creativity started to show,  spending  many of his childhood days drawing….little did he know.

As a young man, Randy attended college at Central Michigan University, spending his college summers working at Cedar Point. A couple of Randy’s brothers, who attended schools in other parts of Michigan and South Dakota, found themselves working side by side with Randy at the Cedar Point Food Warehouse over the summer breaks.

“It was great! We were all at various schools in Michigan and South Dakota but would spend the summers together and we met a great group of friends that we still stay in touch with to this day”

During this time Randy developed a serious relationship while working at Cedar Point. After graduating from Central Michigan University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design the couple moved to Toledo, Ohio where they found an apartment and moved in together. Shortly after that the couple married. Randy and his new wife were in Toledo for four years. Randy held a position at a Printshop/Prepress where he would troubleshoot design files to print to film. The job itself was very technical, but Randy couldn’t suppress his creative side, the creativity that he knew ever since childhood kept looking for an opportunity to shine.

When we have dreams, those very dreams can take a toll when we feel they aren’t being realized, add to that the everyday stress of life in general and not only does it take its toll on you, but inevitably on our relationships. Life changes were on their way for Randy and the path wasn’t a simple one to choose, but to succeed you need to take chances and Randy was ready to take his, but not without a bit of heartache.

“For me, Toledo was a depressing and soul-sucking city. It had drastic effects on my marriage, which led to our eventual divorce. At that point I took a chance. I gave notice to my job and moved to San Francisco.”

In 2000, San Francisco was exactly what Randy needed to get his creativity and career on track. He quickly found a position as a Production Artist with a company called Motive Marketing. Motive is a small agency that specializes in Point-of-Sale and Gift Pack designs for the Spirits Industry. In time and with hard work Randy found himself working on designs utilizing his experience in 3D Modeling for conceptual Renders and his hard work paid off. He continues to work for Motive to this day, only now as their Senior Designer.

After a few years in San Francisco Randy met his wife Susan, they were married in 2004 and lived on the Island of Alameda just across from San Francisco. While Alameda was a wonderful location, Randy and Susan were starting to plan ahead, wanting to start a family and find a nice home to start that chapter of their lives together. During this time Motive was going through some changes of their own, the agency was becoming very mobile with most of their designers working from home offices. This lent itself well to Randy and Susan’s future plans.

On a trip to Indianapolis to visit his brother Tony and his family, Randy and Susan found themselves truly enjoying the city of Indianapolis. In 2007 they made their trip a bit more permanent and relocated from California to Indianapolis, where Randy and his family currently live today. Since 2007 Randy and Susan have welcomed two children into their lives, Violet 6 and Aaron who is 4. While the more “Home Town” feel of the Midwest agrees with Randy, he still occasionally returns to California with his family.

“It was great moving back to the Midwest. The overall vibe is generally friendlier and more down to earth than the California lifestyle. Susan's family is still out in California, so we make sure to visit the Bay Area every 12-18 months and take the kids to some our old favorites.”

In 2011 Randy and his cousin were working on a side project, a board game idea his cousin was developing. They finished the Board Game prototype just in time to showcase the project at GenCon, one of the biggest annual Board Game Conventions in Indianapolis. During the course of the convention, one of the common topics of discussion was a new crowd-funding site called Kickstarter, which apparently the major game companies were already using as a pre-order system for their products.

That evening Randy and his cousin spent hours searching the Kickstarter site to see what it had to offer. One of the projects they came across, that really struck Randy, was the Revision 1 Deck by a designer by the name of Adam Clarkson, who interestingly enough was from the Indianapolis area. Randy immediately backed the project with his pledge and found himself drawn to the idea of designing a custom deck of Playing Cards. Once his cousins Board Game project came to a close Randy wasted no time bringing his creativity and design sense to his 1st Playing Card project. The project would eventually become one of Randy’s most successful concepts to date and the catalyst behind the launch of Randy’s own company. The deck became Randy’s Original Ornates and the company would be Midnight Cards. When asked how the name came to be, Randy quickly credits his wife for the idea…

“My wife thought of the name Midnight Cards. It's perfect because I do all of my work on Card designs late at night, after everyone else is fast asleep. I've always been a night owl and constantly feel the urge to work on a creative personal project during my off hours."


During our collaboration Randy told me that he had always been into playing cards ever since he was a child, the elaborate back designs always intrigued him and really lured him in. He plays poker once a month with a large group of friends and acquaintances and has even amassed a decent card collection of his own over the last few years. Randy finds himself in a very envious position these days….

“I'm lucky to have two jobs that justify buying a lot of Alcohol (Motive) and Playing Cards (Midnight Cards)!”

Last October and November Randy took a little time to relax and recharge his batteries, being the creative individual that he is, he also spent that time planning and brainstorming projects for 2014. The 1st project was the White Ornates which are currently Live and well beyond their funding goal on Kickstarter. The next project on tap is the LUXX Deck with JP Playing Cards from the UK. Randy hadn’t planned on the LUXX project, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with Paul Middleton on a Victorian / Deco inspired design. After the LUXX project comes to its completion Randy has a new fully custom deck project on the horizon, but that’s all going to stay hush, hush…for now. So stay tuned!

Like many other designers, Randy follows his passion to new creative visions. His work is bold and eye catching. He has an unmistakable style all his own. I admire the work he does and can’t wait to see what he brings to the “Table” next. As always, I can’t thank Randy enough for collaborating with me on this piece, his time and patience is greatly appreciated. 

Before we part ways with Randy, he was nice enough to answer just a few more questions for us and you, our readers:
As a designer and artist who's work do you admire and appreciate outside of the card industry?
I've never been one to keep track of designers in the Advertising world. I'm more of a fan of old-world Renaissaince painters - Da Vinci being my favorite. Although, the Playing Card world being so small makes it essential to keep up with the other Deck designers' work. I enjoy the work of Deck designers like Jackson, Uusi, Lotrek, Encarded, Emmanuel, Rick Davidson and others.

Your deck designs have a distinct style, what influences the look of your deck designs?
About half of the designs I do for my day job need to stay within their brand's specific guidelines. It's still creative, but also a little bit on the production side of design. Working on Playing Cards allows me to do whatever I like and create my own brand standards for each Deck. I guess the influence of style just comes from my overall background and personal taste.

With the success that you've had with your deck projects this far, is there ever added pressure with each new concept?
Definitely! I felt a lot of pressure with the Imperial Deck. The theme and design was so unique, it just didn't appeal to the casual Playing Card consumer. That was a tough campaign! I learned a lot from that project. Most notably - don't pick a theme with such a small niche of fans (Faberge Eggs).

If you could obtain the release to any one intelectual property to bring to a custom deck of cards, what would it be and why?
I guess I would have to say Star Wars. Like just about every boy growing up in the 80's, I'm a huge fan of the original trilogy. I can't wait to see what J.J. Abram's does with the Star Wars universe. The Goonies would be a fun Deck to work on as well!

Any final thoughts, comments or parting words?
Just a quick shout out to your readers. If you haven't already, please check out the White ORNATES' Kickstarter page!

As always, I can’t thank Randy enough for collaborating with me on this piece, his time and patience is greatly appreciated. You can keep up with Randy’s latest work on his Facebookpage and don’t forget to check out his White Ornate project LIVE on Kickstarter.

This exclusive 1-on-1 is written by Anthony Ingrassia for kardify. No part of this article can be reproduced without written permission from the author. You can check out Anthony's awesome collection at sparkzcollector.  

1-on-1: Randy Butterfield Reviewed by highlite23 on 3/22/2014 Rating: 5


  1. I wanted to thank Randy again for all his help and patience on this piece, I also wanted to let all of our readers know that if you have someone you would like to see featured on a 1-ON-1 segment, please let us know and we'll work on it ;)

  2. I am thinking Lorenzo! ;)

    Any seconds?


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