Art of Playing Cards—21 Themed Card Designs from Kickstarter

by . February 20th, 2015

Playing cards have come a long way from the ones we know (and love to play poker with) today. The earliest playing cards were found in China as early as the Tang Dynasty (618-970 CE) from which it spread towards Egypt and Europe.

The predecessor of the standard 52-card deck, tarot cards, were developed in the middle of the 15th century in Europe. In the 18th century through the present, these cards have been used by mystics for fortune-telling and divination.

The playing card design we are most familiar with is the French Rouennais pattern, named after Rouen, a city in France.


FUN FACT: The King of Hearts is also called the “suicide king”

Considering the design was from the mid-15th century, enduring its way to modern times is no easy feat. I think the design kinda gets boring after awhile. But enough about history!

Artists from Kickstarter started campaigns featuring redesigns of the standard deck. Check out their designs below:


Leonardo by Dent-de-Lion du Midi

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No.17 Playing Cards by Requiem Team

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Bicycle Starlight Black Hole by Collectable Playing Cards

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Breaking Bad Playing Cards by Erik Dahlman

 6dacb0752093d60ecc1039ad030f0ebf_original 1640a7d5ff0e5b8ca63d7da62f114ead_original

Arcana Playing Cards by Chris Ovdiyenko

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Muertos – Day of the Dead Playing Cards by Steve Minty

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Viking Playing Cards by Scott King

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Heretic Playing Cards by Requiem Team


“Uusi Classic” Limited Edition Playing Cards by Uusi

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Get MADE! by Scott King

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Golden Spike Playing Cards by Jody Eklund

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Feudal – Ninja and Samurai Playing Cards by Scott King

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Venexiana Dark by Half Moon Playing Cards

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Neverland Playing Cards by Nat Iwata

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Kingdoms of a New World by Nathanael Mortensen

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Olde Bones: Deck of the Dead by Toronto Playing Card Company

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The Science Deck by Rose

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Call of Cthulhu: The Writhing Dark by Shane Tyree

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The Grimoire Series by Edgy Brothers

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Steampunk Beginnings by Nathanael Mortensen

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Killer Clowns by Collectable Playing Cards

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Exploding Kittens by Elan Lee

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Which of the themed playing cards was your favorite? Comment your choice below!



Kevin is a reader first, a writer second, and a gamer somewhere in between. When not rooting for Tyrion Lannister for the Iron Throne, he's probably writing some morbid short story. He enjoys some surreal art, clever advertising campaigns, and a warm cup of coffee while reading Murakami.