Deckstarter: 7 Questions with Dan Buck

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Deckstarter: 7 Questions with Dan Buck

At the end October 2013, a collaboration between Dan and Dave and Alejandro Portela was announced on Art of Play's Facebook page and this has generated quite a buzz around the community... both positive and negative. Deckstarter has been promoted on various social media outlet as a funding platform for custom designed playing cards. After months of speculations and radio silence, Deckstarter was finally launched in Boston at the HOW Design Live Conference.

We managed to catch-up with Dan Buck to talk about Deckstarter, how it came about, how it works and the future of Deckstarter.

There are many speculations around the community about Deckstarter. Can you tell us a little about Deckstarter?
We came up with the idea of DeckStarter after talking to many people that tried to "self-publish" their own deck of cards without knowing what they were getting into. If you ask anyone that tried, they will probably tell you the nightmare that it is to print, promote and ship out the cards. Most of them dedicate months to see little to no return on all the work they put into it.

How did you guys come up with the idea?
We wanted to offer a more accessible way for artists to turn their artwork into a deck of playing cards, specially to artists outside of magic, cardistry, and card collecting. We wanted to make it hands-off for them. Just send us your graphics and we will handle the rest.

That is a very good concept. So, how does Deckstarter work?
Deckstarter is a crowd-funding platform for playing cards. We hand pick the best projects that get sent to us and if we think they are a good fit, we feature them on the website. People make pledges on the decks of cards they like and if the funding goal is met, production begins. What really makes Deckstarter unique is the behind the scenes. For the deck lover it's pretty much the same but for the artist it is a much more simple process.

Why would a designer pick Deckstarter over the more established Kickstarter?
Deckstarter takes care of pretty much everything. From the moment that we receive the initial sketches or the finished artwork from the artist, we take over production, marketing and distribution of the cards. Designers can save hundreds of hours, and headaches, by letting us print, fulfill and promote their decks for them.

What are your future plans for Deckstarter? How far ahead in the future do you guys plan?
Our plan is to reach a broader market, we want the best designers that never heard of the custom playing cards phenomenon to put out their own through us. We think this way we will raise the bar and offer the best playing cards out there.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers who want to create their own custom deck?
We want designers to translate their own style into a deck of cards, something that when you see it you can instantly say "this was made by this artist". If you have a personal style and you think it's amazing, we want to see it. Just send us a draft with a note of what you want to do and we'll get back to you with our thoughts.

Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks? 
The ones on DS right now. Go pledge!

Thanks for the good insights Dan and all the best for the launch of Deckstarter! Can't wait to see more interesting decks.

Deckstarter will be launching on 28th May 2014 (Wed) at 10am PST. Join Deckstarter's Facebook Event of the launch here and to keep up-to-date on Deckstarter's latest release, visit Also, to see more exclusives and interviews, please follow us Facebook.
Deckstarter: 7 Questions with Dan Buck Reviewed by Ivan on 5/26/2014 Rating: 5


  1. Deckstarter is a good idea, but the execution is poor. They've had 2 decks for about a week now. No variety. I don't like either of the decks at all. In the same time, probably 10 new decks were posted on Kickstarter. Plus them having to vet the decks before they're posted isn't very democratic. Anyone should be able to post a design and if it doesn't get funded, then that means the deck doesn't get made. But there could be some very nice ideas that are discarded before they even get a chance because the creators of the site have an opinion that might differ from everyone else's.

  2. This was a great idea from the buck twins, honestly, it couldn't have gone any better. I do believe they should diversify, and have a more open community, but other than that, they've done great!


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