Kickstarter: 7 Questions with James Milaras of the Joker and the Thief Playing Cards

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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with James Milaras of the Joker and the Thief Playing Cards

After years of reviewing playing cards, the talented guys from Joker and the Thief have decided to create their own deck of cards. The need for the Joker and the Thief playing cards came from years of observing and handing hundreds of custom decks. James Milaras and Reuben Nutt believe that a certain balance need to be achieved in order to create a great deck.

The Joker and the Thief playing cards is an impressive deck! The design invite attention, while striking a balance between style and functionality.

The back design is not only intricately beautiful but aesthetically and sentimentally appealing. The themes and connotation from back design continue throughout, you may even start to see a story forming as you look through them. The Ace of Spades is unique, bold and iconic of this design. The court cards are all fully custom. The tuck is peppered with lavish touches, and adorned with silver foil, on a matte finished paper. It is embossed on all sides and has a foil stamped interior.

We reached out to James and we had a chat about Joker & the Thief, the inspiration behind their branded deck and the support from the playing card community.

Can you tell us about yourselves and what do you guys do at Joker & the Thief?
We are both young Cardists, Students, Photographers and Videographers from Australia. Our roles at Joker and the Thief are shared. Reuben will do the actual editing of the films we produce, whereas I will write the scripts and offer suggestions on how to give the film those extra aesthetic touches. We both manage social media, and we both share the filming and photography aspects. When it comes down to it, we tend to bounce a lot of ideas off each other. I tend to come up with a lot of the creative ideas, and Reuben has the ability to make them a reality.

Can you describe the Joker & the Thief deck and why you are passionate about it?
The Joker and the Thief deck represents our brand. The design depicts various symbolic images that tie into a larger metaphors - metaphors of life, mortality, thievery, lies, deceit, power, struggle, hurt, love. This connotation evokes this great sense of volume and depth. The Joker and the Thief playing cards is also a project that we are both really proud of. We have always wanted to do a deck of cards and we have finally created something that we see as truly unique and individualistic. We wanted to make sure that we do it properly, so that people would enjoy it. To us, these cards are fairly special.

When did you first start thinking about using Kickstarter for the project? What made you decide to take the plunge?
Our first thoughts about Kickstarter occurred as soon as the design process started. We knew we wanted a platform to successfully launch our own brand and we knew Kickstarter could provide us with the opportunity to get our work into your hands. Its something that we are striving to see happen.

Talk to us a bit about going from the first draft to the final version. How did you get to this finished product and how did you get feedback? 
The first draft was rather rudimentary, but it rapidly developed into what we have now. Our artist was fantastic. We had our initial sketches and ideas and from there the process was essentially back and forth. It was easy, and we experienced no hiccups along the way. Sure there was a lot of refining but when you have a great team behind you that process is easy. As far as external feedback was concerned, images never really left Joker and the Thief. We most definitely asked close card friend, as well as our close circle of friends and family. The response had been fantastic, and as far as we were concerned if the people we had shown enjoyed the design, we knew others would too.

We first noticed the Joker & the Thief on your Instagram page. What do you think of the playing card community in terms of the feedback and support that you’ve been getting so far?
The Instagram community and the rest of the card community is just a spectacularly awesome bunch of people. We are extremely happy with the response that we have received on all social media, and would like to thank everyone who has been helping us and commenting the design so far. Everyone has been tremendous. So, people of the card community, thank you very much.

With all the projects competing for funding, why should potential backers choose the Joker & the Thief deck?
Since we started reviewing playing cards we can easily say that we are fans of intricate designs. Theory11 has been absolutely fantastic at achieving this and over the years we have witnessed their creations come to fruition. We wanted to something like that ourselves. The design trend of simplistic decks has saturated the market recently and with our cards we wanted to reintroduce the concept of thoroughly thought out and intricate designs.

And while we are fans of cards like Fontaines, Saturns and The Virts, we wanted something truly unique, something really different - something with a back design that is different yet tells a story. We wanted something with completely custom courts cards and pips, a unique ace of spades and pair of jokers. What we wanted is something that has a synthesised meaning and a whole lot of character. We feel that we have achieved this and we cannot wait for you guys to have these cards in your hands. So when the Kickstarter goes live, make sure to pick yourself up a few.

Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
Our favourite cards are based off their handling. Reuben is a huge fan of the original Smoke and Mirrors Denim, as well as Bicycle Fan Backs and Tally Ho Circle Backs. My favourite cards would have to be Smoke and Mirrors V6, Vintage Plaid and Magic Con 2012. All fantastic feeling cards.

Thank you for your time, James and all the best! If you like what you’ve read here and want to support this stunning deck, you can find it on Kickstarter Here!

Pledge starts from USD$13 and will be printed by the Expert Playing Card Co on their highly acclaimed Classic stock and finish . Also, add-ons such as Uncut Sheets, Cuardistry Tutorials, posters, and custom skateboard decks are available.
Kickstarter: 7 Questions with James Milaras of the Joker and the Thief Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 3/21/2015 Rating: 5


  1. Their favorite cards are all printed by Bicycle and they describe how the cards all feel fantastic, yet they use EPCC for printing their own deck >.<

  2. Joker and the ThiefMarch 21, 2015 at 4:36 PM

    Hey man, we have a lot of favourite decks, that come from USPCC. But as we know they can be hit and miss, for every fantastic handling deck to come out of USPCC there are at least 10 bad - to decent. EPCC has produced nothing but consistent quality products and their newest finish, the Classic finish is superb.


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