How to Produce and Fund Your First Deck of Custom Playing Cards - Part 1

 So you want to produce your first deck of playing cards, but you don't know where to start. In this blog post, we will outline the entire process from start to finish, as well as how to fund your project on Kickstarter. We'll also give you some tips and advice along the way!

 The first step is to come up with a great idea for your deck. This can be anything from a theme or story, to artwork or illustrations. Once you have an idea, you will need to identify your audience then start working on a design or finding a designer that suits your needs. This includes everything from the layout and graphics to the card back and face designs.

 Playing cards have been around for centuries, and there are many different reasons why people choose to buy them. However, most custom card buyers fall into one of three categories: collectors, magicians, and cardists. Collectors often seek out decks with custom courts and faces, even if the cards themselves are less than ideal in terms of quality or handling. For magicians, the priority is finding a deck that looks ordinary but still handles well; custom faces are not as important as ensuring that the deck is consistent from one to the next. Cardists, on the other hand, are primarily concerned with coolness factor; as long as the cards handle well, the details of the design are secondary. No matter what their reasons for buying custom cards may be, all three groups demand high levels of quality and attention to detail. 

 As any collector knows, the design of a deck of cards is important. Not only does it need to be visually appealing, but it also needs to be functional. That's why finding a good designer is essential. Fortunately, there are a few ways to find a great designer. One way is to look for someone who is currently designing whisky labels. If a person can design a beautiful and functional whisky label, they can most likely design a great deck of cards. Another way to find a great designer is to look for someone who has experience with court card type artwork. If you're looking for a deck of cards with custom faces, this is an important consideration. However, if you're looking for a deck of cards that will be used primarily by magicians and cardists, this may not be as important. Ultimately, it's important to know who your target audience is before you start looking for a designer.

 There's an old saying in the design world: the printer is just as important as your design. And it's true - if you want your project to look its best, you need to partner with a great printer. There are four primary printers in the playing card market: The United States Playing Card Company, Legends, Cartamundi, and Expert. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it's important to choose carefully.

 The United States Playing Card Company was the gold standard for playing card printing. They have the best handling cards for professionals, but they can sometimes have registration issues that cause the cards to be printed off-center. To combat this problem, make sure your design border has rounded corners rather than square corners. USPCC is also lacking in the foil department, but their customer service is outstanding. If you're looking for a foil design, I recommend Legends. I've worked with them before and their customer service is great. I haven't worked with Cartamundi or Expert, neither were very responsive when I tried. I would never recommend using them - the one time I tried working with Expert was a nightmare resulting in a seriously delayed project.

 So, you've got your target audience, your design and your printer all sorted out. Congrats! Now it's time to think about how you're going to bring your cards to market. One option is to self-fund your design and sell them yourself. But let's be honest, who has that kind of money just lying around? For most of us, the only option is running a Kickstarter. And while that may seem daunting at first, don't worry! We're here to help. Just remember to keep a few things in mind when running your campaign, like fees, project length, and the best launch day and month. With a little planning (and maybe a dash of luck), you'll be on your way to becoming the next big name in the world of custom playing cards!

 In part 2 we will dig into the fine details of tucks, promotion, prototypes and the details of Kickstarter.