Designers: UUSI's Creative Process

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Designers: UUSI's Creative Process

In the continuation of our designers series, we are honoured to have a guest post from Linnea of UUSI, creators of popular playing card decks such as BlueBlood, Bohemia, Royal Optik and Pagan. This month, Linnea shares with us about working together with Peter as a husband & wife team, the creative process behind creating a deck of cards, and how an artwork is finalised. USSI's upcoming project Hotcakes (launching on 26th April - 10am EST) will be used as examples in this article.

One of the questions Peter and I are always asked is how do you guys work together? I think this question is made up of part curiosity for the actual design / art process we use in the studio and part incredulity that we would actually want to work together as we are not only partners in a design studio, but husband & wife. Truth be told, whenever I hear that "Husband & Wife Team" moniker I cringe. What immediately comes to mind is an insanely dysfunctional, unprofessional work environment with a very combative, emotionally charged atmosphere. I've been around those situations and they are claustrophobic. But when they work, they are really fun and the environment is incredibly trusting and supportive. I think at Uusi we manage to walk that line of keeping personal issues at home (mostly!) and bring to the studio our creative energy and productive focus.

Hotcakes Card Backs

When we decided to work on a six-deck series for Uusi we had been making art and design together for quite some time and the creative process was well established. Peter is the founder of Uusi, but his official role at the studio is Art Director and mine is Lead Creative. We both brainstorm for a deck's theme and once one is decided on my role is to explore the visual possibilities for the deck. This usually requires a lot of sketching out of ideas, color directions, medium choice, etc. During this process Peter will come in and start to winnow out what works and what doesn't until we are down to about two or three different looks from which one is finally chosen. Finding the look and theme is definitely the longest process in creating these decks.

Hotcakes Heart Court

Once a look and theme are established the deck's art work moves fairly quickly from there. The final artwork is worked on by whomever has the strongest skill in the chosen medium. With "Hotcakes" I created sketches for the characters and Peter came in to ink the line work using a traditional pen and ink technique that he is skilled in. After the sketches have been inked they come back to me and I added the color to them. This time the color was produced with markers and tempera paints as we wanted the look to be highly illustrative and playful. The final artwork is then scanned into the computer and laid into the playing card templates. Each card has its own digital file that is then converted into a working digital format for print. When all the digital files are ready they are then dropped onto USPCC's server and their Post Production team rips them into a master template for print.

Hotcakes Ace of Spades

The video embedded below is part of our soon-to-be-launched, "Hotcakes" Kickstarter video and shows both Peter and I working on the the Queen of Hearts artwork for this deck. The video begins with Peter inking in the pencil sketch and then my adding the color. Hope you enjoy it and we hope to see you over on Kickstarter next weekend for the launch of our fifth deck, "Hotcakes!"

This exclusive guest post is written by Linnea of UUSI for Kardify. No part of this article can be reproduced without written permission from the author. You can check out UUSI's work online at

Designers: UUSI's Creative Process Reviewed by Ivan on 4/22/2014 Rating: 5


  1. That video is insane! I can barely see the sketch that Peter is inking. Is it the lighting, or does Linnea use a soft gray pencil?

  2. Crazy good! I could almost hear the William Tell Overture music running through my head!


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