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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with David Traina of Borderline Playing Cards

Borderline is a deck of custom playing cards that celebrate the vibrant culture on both sides of the southern border. Created by Traina Design, this lovingly crafted deck showcases bilingual designs that depict the unique culture and colorful characters seen in and around the US/Mexican border.

The face cards of Borderline features 26 unique characters that capture the rich personalities from both sides of the border. Instead of the typical kings, queens and jacks, there are bikers, luchadores, Hollywood starlets, Mexican señoritas, small town sheriffs and federalise.

We caught up with David Traina, President and Creative Director at Traina Design to talk about his company, the inspiration behind the Borderline Playing Cards, the evolution of design of the deck and Kickstarter.

Can you tell us about Traina Design and your design background?
Traina Design is a brand communications firm located in San Diego. We work with visionary companies to emphasize their strengths, establish their voice and build their business. Our clients hail from a variety of different industries and our capabilities span all aspects of customer engagement, from print to video, interactive to advertising, and social to event creative. We thrive on variety. We abhor mediocrity.

I personally started working in advertising at age 15, working summers at a large ad agency in Atlanta. After graduating from BYU, I spent a couple of years working for a small design firm in Provo. Then I moved to Seattle where I spent two years at a renowned annual report firm and three more at a full-service agency. In 2012, I moved to San Diego and not long after launched the business from my home office. Today, Traina consists of 11 full-timers and an army of contractors and partner vendors.

This is your first Kickstarter Project. Why Kickstarter?
There are two reasons why we chose to crowd fund - finances and curiosity. First, producing a deck of this quality through USPC, with its elaborate, copper foil embossed box and custom-illustrated face cards, isn’t cheap. We need the support of fellow designers and playing card enthusiasts to make this dream a reality. The second reason is pure curiosity. We've had friends launch Kickstarter campaigns, but have never been through the process ourselves. We felt that Borderline was a perfect match for Kickstarter's format, and it has been a labor of love from the beginning.

What is your inspiration behind Borderline Playing Cards? How did you come up with the idea?
For years we've wanted to design a deck of playing cards. Late last year we saw our opportunity. We tossed around dozens of ideas over the course of several weeks and finally, as we stood around our ping-pong table brainstorming one day, the idea sprouted. We decided to create a deck that features the amazing cultural heritage right in our backyard. The "mirror-image" nature of playing cards was the perfect way to contrast both the characters and the languages on either side of the U.S./Mexico border.

How much time did you spend working on the deck?
We spent three months on the design and custom illustrations. Once completed, we spent hundreds of hours producing our Kickstarter video, our image library, outreach, etc.

Can you briefly go through the design evolution of one of your unique card design?
First we spent days determining what characters to feature, and who their natural parallels should be. We considered every conceivable personality, but ultimately landed on the 14 that you see in the deck. Once we agreed on a pairing (for example, the biker vs. the luchador), rough sketches were drawn up and routed through the entire team for feedback and suggestions. It was truly a team effort, and everyone's input had equal weight. The illustrations would then go through at least half a dozen refinements before they were finally polished and ready to go.

What are your thoughts about the continuous strong growth of playing card projects on Kickstarter?
The bottom line is that designing a deck of playing cards is a pipe dream of every conscious designer, and before Kickstarter there was simply no way to get it done. There are scores of players worldwide who never knew playing cards could have so much artistic life, and Kickstarter is the ideal distribution channel to bring these two groups together. As more people discover this movement, from both a designer and player point-of-view, it's going to continue to explode.

Finally, what are your favorite playing card decks? 
Since we began this process nearly one year ago, I've been blown away by dozens of amazing decks that I've seen on Kickstarter. I love the Edgy Brothers’ Dia de los Muertos deck and I’ve always drooled over the JAQK decks. Also, as a designer, I'm a big fan of anything with typographic elegance, or anything along the lines of Hundred Million's CMYK deck.

Thank you David for your time and sharing with us your Kickstarter project! All the best!

Pledge starts from $12 and Borderline Playing Cards will be printed by the USPCC. Also, add-ons such as shirt and uncut sheet are available.

Kickstarter: 7 Questions with David Traina of Borderline Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 5/05/2014 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. The backs of these remind of me t11 Monarchs.


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