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DIVA VS Palette Playing Cards


Welcome to our first VS article by @decknowledgy. In this article, we will find out more about these two unique decks with seemingly similar designs but with an unexpected story about brotherhood.

Alex Matencio, the designer of DIVA Playing Cards, launched the deck on Kickstarter in 2018. Prior to the launch, he occasionally came across the Palette deck by ITS on Instagram and decided to push the reveal one day earlier, fearing that they would be called out for copying the artwork.

The two teams eventually got to know each other, one from France and the other from South Korea, and they realized that they had the similar vision to incorporate the Bauhaus art style into a deck of cards. Coincidentally, they even planned to launch their decks around the same time in 2018. What were the odds? “In Bauhaus We Trust, I guess?” said Alex.


DIVA
By definition, “diva” in Italian and Latin is the term for “goddess.” In English, it represents “the leading female singer in an opera” as well as “one who demands that attention be paid to his or her needs.” DIVA Playing Cards does just about everything listed above, no doubt.

The deck fully adopts the Bauhaus art style, giving the tuck a bright, flashy, and colorful demeanor. The back of the tuck features a feathery spread of all color schemes, elegant in the most audacious way. The feathery emblem repeats itself on a smaller scale on the tongue flap. The contrast between the complexity of the front with the subtleness of the back lends the tuck a very balanced smoothness to the eye. The ad copy on the bottom is listed as a chart, well-placed and cleans up the traditionally unappealing ad copy of other decks. Hence, the ad copy becomes a part of the overall aesthetics.


The cards themselves are smooth and buttery with the Cartamundi’s famous B9 finish. Design-wise, all aces consist of color patches, but the ace of spades stands out due to its full deployment of the blues, red, yellow, and gray. The aces of the clubs, diamonds, and hearts are reduced to blue, red, and white. The court cards are designed to be abstract outlines of kings, queens, and jacks. A single suit index is placed right above their heads. All kings, queens, jacks have the same design from suit to suit, but the color patterns show the difference between them. As for the pip design, I especially love the diamond which is rounded like an oval on the left and right. After all, the overall design of the artwork is always sharp on one edge but rounded on the others. Thus, the diamonds are a great touch to add to the consistency.

The back design is a colorful two-way design that pops while performing spreads and fans. The right-to-left thumb fan is especially catchy with all four colorways contrasting sharply from top to bottom: navy blue→yellow→red→sky blue. It is a perfect deck for display and flourishing.


Palette
There are two types of playing card designs that I love especially: fully custom art- oriented decks and semi-custom bold colored cardistry decks. The Palette Playing Cards is definitely the latter, and the key to their perfection is bold colors with clean, distinguishable borders that do not mess with readability. Oftentimes, cardistry deck designs venture too far into the WTF realm… And that’s why this deck is exceptional within that category. The whole theme of the deck is asymmetrical through abstraction.

The ace of spades consists of the four color patches that are used throughout, and through precision, forming a slanted spade leaning towards the abstract but still gentle, soothing, and readable. The stem of the spade is a simple dot, adding to the cleanness of the design. The same dot could be found on the top and bottom borders of the back design, bringing a focus to the seemingly random array of color patches. As much as the back consists of striped, squared, quarter circle, and triangular shapes, the checkerboard 4x5 composition makes it catchy, attractive, and pleasing. Finally, two thick black bands on the top and bottom encase this scene of abstract messiness between them, finished with a perfectly centered white dot on the band as mentioned before.


Red suits with dark wine red lend substance to the overall aesthetic, making the deck feel luxurious yet playful, not superficial and floaty. The deck handles perfectly, perfect for cardistry of course, but the gameplay capability is spot-on with the standard face layouts. The asymmetrical back design lends the deck the capability to perform four different thumb fans in the four orientations.

Overall
Both DIVA and Palette are great decks for cardistry given the flashy color patches in the display. In terms of the colorway, DIVA presents itself as the bright, playground type of spirit while Palette is subtler with the darker shades. What Palette lacks in brightness it redeems with the upper hand in gameplay, where the standard faces are definitely more readable and custom for players. In terms of fans, both decks have their advantages: DIVA bombards you with its array of colors although it only has two difference fans (left to right/right to left) while Palette boasts of variety with four fans although the colors are toned down a bit.


There is no win or lose in this competition as both decks stand well beside (not against) one another. After all, the Bauhaus blood and genes run deep within these two decks as if they were meant as a set even when created by different teams in different countries. In Bauhaus they trust, and therefore, they bond in brotherhood in the making.


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DIVA VS Palette Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 5/24/2019 Rating: 5

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