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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Christian Ellingstad of Pride of Peacocks Playing Cards


Pride of Peacocks by Arcadia is a beautifully crafted custom deck of ornate playing cards inspired by the significant role the elegant and mysterious peacock has played in Persian culture throughout history. The bird, which was brought from India to the region of Mesopotamia as a gift to kings as early as the 10th century BC, is a symbol of immortality and royalty. Since then, it has been an important motive in art, architecture, and craft in Persian empires.

Fully custom, the deck features a striking card back printed with metallic ink,  a gorgeous Ace of Spades, and court cards based on royals from Persian art and architecture with Peacock elements incorporated throughout! The deck is kept secured in a dark blue tuck box adorned with stunning gold foil, which displays the majestic peacock along with eye-catching elements from Persian culture.


Last week, we had a quick chat with Christian Ellingstad about the inspiration behind Pride of Peacocks, the design evolution of the deck and his takeaway from the first Kickstarter campaign.

Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
I used to work within the print industry and now I am working with marketing. Therefore I have always loved design, product packaging, and branding. However, it was only recently I decided to have a go on graphic design and actually try to make something myself. I have the last years tried to kick-off a few startup ideas (most of them have not been successful) so I started creating artwork for logos, product packaging and websites for these projects. This was my first jump into design. However, when I realized I could combine another great passion of mine, card magic, with graphic design I instantly got hooked. That was when Arcadia was born.


What is your inspiration behind Pride of Peacocks Playing Cards? How did you come up with the idea?
The concept of the Pride of Peacocks deck started with the ace of spades. One day I was playing with a few ideas I had in mind, and suddenly I noticed that the spade I created looked like a peacock when it fans out its tail. I knew I was on to something exiting. The first version of the deck I launched on Kickstarter was mainly based on this, but this new version of the deck has way more thought put into it. After the first failed attempt on Kickstarter, I realized I had to create a story around the peacock. That is when I started reading about the significance of the bird in, both, ancient and modern cultures. I then found out that the peacock didn't play just an important role in Indian history, which is what the bird is most famous for, but also that it had a significant role in ancient and more modern Persian culture. The deck is, therefore, inspired by both ancient Persian sculptures and temples, but also more recent Iranian art.

Unfortunately, your first project was only 54% funded. Did you get any help or feedback from your supporters after your first project and how did you incorporate it into the current project?
I received so much feedback from the previous campaign, much more than I had expected! I want Arcadia to be a playing card brand where the supporters can actually have a saying in the design processes, so I made sure that I listened to as many as possible when creating the new version. The main changes that were made based on this useful feedback, was to create completely custom courts, change the joker design, implement more of the peacock's colors on the card backs and also add a white frame on the backs. I'm really thankful for all the support and feedback as it made it so much easier to design this new version when I knew what people wanted.


Can you briefly go through the design evolution of one of your unique card design?
One of my favorite cards is the King of Diamonds. It is based on Darius the Great, who was one of the kings in the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Everything from the beard to his headpiece are based on sculptures of the king. The beard style, which was very common in the ancient Persian empire has also been used on all kings. However, I think my favorite part of the King of Diamonds is the axe he's holding. I spend way too much time looking at ancient Persian weapons, just to create something that was historically correct. The same goes with the swords on the King of spades and clubs which are all based on actual weapons found in ancient Persian cities.

From the project page, what are a few of your favorite reward levels and why? 
I've kept the reward levels pretty simple. However, I must say that I like the last and most expensive reward, which is to get your name printed on the tuck boxes.


What’s next? Can we expect more deck designs in the future?
Yes, definitely! Pride of Peacocks is just the first deck in a series of many themed deck designs. I love everything that has to do with mythology and ancient civilizations, so many of the ideas I have in mind are based on this. There are too many deck concepts I want to create, but first of all, my main focus is to bring the Pride of Peacocks deck to life. I'll take this opportunity to reveal a spoiler though. One of the next decks will be based around King Minos and the myth about the Minotaur.

Finally, what are your favorite playing card decks? 
I don't think I have one favorite, but the first one that comes to mind is the Drifters deck by Dan & Dave. I just love the simplicity of it. Only one color has been used on the tuck and no foils, still, it looks so elegant. It proves how you can create something amazing by combining good design and quality paper. And the courts are all so unique, but they still managed to make them look like the classic courts. It's just a well-crafted deck.

Thank you for your time and all the best! At the time of writing Pride of Peacocks is only 65% funded with 20 days to go. If you like what you've read here and want to support Christian, you can find it on Kickstarter Here! 


Pledge starts from €9 (~USD$10), the deck will be printed by Cartamundi in Belgium on their famous B9 True Linen Finish.

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Kickstarter: 7 Questions with Christian Ellingstad of Pride of Peacocks Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan Choe on 11/08/2018 Rating: 5

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