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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Elettra Deganello of Pinocchio Playing Cards


Conceptualized by Passione Playing Cards and beautifully illustrated by Elettra Deganello, Pinocchio Playing Cards are based on the iconic fictional character by Italian writer Carlo Collodi.

Pinocchio is one of the most reimagined characters in children's literature, his story has been adapted into other media, notably the 1940 Disney film Pinocchio. However, the original story is darker than what we are familiar with today. As such, the team at Passione decided to design a pair of decks (Sapphire and Vermilion) describing, respectively, the lighter and the darker side.


Prior to the launch of the project, we had a chat with Elettra her design background, inspiration, and design process behind the Pinocchio Playing Cards.

Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
My name is Elettra Deganello. I was born and raised in Italy and I currently live in Prato, Tuscany, where I work mainly as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I started drawing as a child and I never stopped. For me, it's always been a natural need, like eating, sleeping and breathing... Drawing simply makes me happy. Growing up I would have liked to attend specific art schools but, for one reason or another, I didn't get the chance. I studied Greek and Latin and then, attracted to a couple of drawing classes, I signed up for Industrial Design in Florence. Even when I was in college and it was not requested at all, every exercise was just a good excuse to improve my drawing skills. In the last few years, I've become increasingly interested in graphic design, and that has turned into a strong passion. That's how I've discovered vector illustration


What motivated you to create your own deck of cards? How did you end up collaborating with Passione Playing Cards?
I see that of a deck of cards as an ambitious, very complete project. I love illustration and graphics, but I also love the challenges! I met Riccardo Conturbia in Prato while I was attending university and I was immediately intrigued by this world. At that time Maurizio Toccafondi, who is the art director of Passione besides being my boyfriend, was helping to design Love is a smoke. It didn't take long to decide that I wanted to design my own deck, but it took a little longer to start doing it.



What is your inspiration behind the Pinocchio Deck? How did you come up with the idea?
The theme was proposed by Riccardo when he saw some Alice in Wonderland theme cards that I had created for leisure and posted on Instagram (@elettra_illustration). He liked the fairy style of those illustrations, so we decided to follow that direction but focusing on a classic of the Italian literature (which is – lest we forget – among the most translated and sold books in the world!)


Talk to us a bit about going from the first draft to the final version. How did you get to this finished product?
The figures were born in a very spontaneous way. It was fun. I used to read the descriptions by Collodi in the daytime and then to go to sleep imagining the characters that I'd have drawn the next few days. The sketching phase was quite compulsive, hectic. The vector stage took longer, especially because the decks are two (Pinocchio Sapphire and Pinocchio Vermilion) and the court cards, the aces, and the jokers are totally different. I mean... it's about 36 illustrations, and many court cards are different even from side to side. It is also to say that I've had a lot of doubts about the coloring style, but in the end, the best way turned out to be the simplest.


What was your most brilliant breakthrough when designing the deck?
Meh.. Brilliant breakthrough? I am still waiting for that. All kidding aside, I can identify three turning points in the design process of Pinocchio. The first is when the idea to use the graphic of the sequins as a background came to me. Everything turned out to be richer, more complete. The second one is when I discovered how fun it was to use the shape of the aces to create some full-fledged illustrations because this allowed the storytelling of the novel through the pips. The third and last defining moment, furthermore, is when I had the feeling that we needed two, only two main colors: red for Mangiafuoco (aka Fire-Eater) and blue for the Fairy with Turquoise Hair, obviously. Tradition can offer excellent suggestions.

What’s next? Can we expect more deck designs in the future?
I tell myself to wait, to see the outcome of Pinocchio before starting to fantasize about the future. The truth is that I have so many ideas that I have proposed dozens of different decks to Riccardo, since we started this project. You can find a clue to what I'd like to design in the future in the aces of Pinocchio, I guess. But these are just ideas, don't mind me


Finally, what are your favorite playing card decks? 
I adore Requiem by Lorenzo Gaggiotti. The illustrations possess a substantial expressive force. Being good at drawing is a skill, whilst expressing and arousing emotions is a gift. I like very much many of the decks by Thirdway Industries too. Meroni's design is always so detailed and balanced: it fills and pleases the eye. Also, Theory11 is really on a roll. I particularly appreciate Mailchimp, Jimmy Fallon and Hudson. And how not to mention Alex Lotrek, that I've had the pleasure to meet here in Prato? All the decks he touches become gold, and this is not about foil!

Thank you for your time Elettra and all the best!


Pinocchio playing cards will be printed by the United States Playing Card Co. Having raised 66% percent of its $15k goal in less than a day, a pledge of $16 sets you up with a deck. Check it out on Kickstarter here!

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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Elettra Deganello of Pinocchio Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan Choe on 10/22/2018 Rating: 5

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