With his roots firmly in design and magic tricks, it’s no surprise that Kansas-born Jared Hansen chose such a clean, crisp, classical design concept as his inspiration for this truly stunning deck of playing cards – The Architect.
“Designed from the ground up to resemble a blueprint, The Architect features a contemporary, refined back design filled with modern symbolism while reminiscent of more traditional, classic playing cards.” – taken from the Kickstarter project page.
The Ace of Spades (shown above) features a unique take on Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’ sketch, with a very subtle Spade hidden in the background.
Inspiration for the Jokers came from none other than Salvador Dali. While this may seem like an unusual choice, since Dali is more known for his surrealist paintings than symmetrical shapes and patterns, he did have architectural achievements, namely his own house and a museum, both located in Spain. As a Joker collector, I personally think it is a touch of genius, given his personality and eccentricities.
With standard pip cards this deck brings card design right back to the drawing board so to speak. Or so we would think……
The Court cards all feature the likenesses of actual people – friends and family of Jared Hansen, as well as award winning magicians. This would have to be my only gripe about this deck…. I just don’t like playing card decks with ‘real’ people’s faces on them. Especially if I don’t know who they are. And particularly if the images are based on what could only have been ‘yearbook-style’ photo shoot images. The court cards’ bodies are actually very well designed, if they had standard faces I reckon this deck would be all the more desirable. But you know what? That’s just me. Everyone’s tastes are different and I’m sure there will be those who totally disagree with me on this point. Anyways, can you imagine being one of those people immortalised in a deck of cards? Not a bad claim to fame….”yeah, I’m the Jack of Spades….. I know… cool, huh…?”
Like I’ve said, this deck is designed with cardistry in mind, and it delivers on that point perfectly. The symmetrical design of the back and the simple pips don’t carry any pretense – it does what it says on the tin. The cards will be printed by the Expert Playing Card Co. and will be fulfilled by Art of Play which was founded by Dan and Dave Buck, so the quality and handling of this deck is guaranteed to please.
With a few nice add-ons available from t-shirts, to card clips, uncut sheets and signed prints, this is a well thought out project – Jared obviously wants to provide his backers with some special gear. My personal favourite would have to be the prototype Architect Redline Edition, with a red back and standard court card faces. These are prototypes and so would make them extremely rare and therefore desirable for collectors. But with a price tag of $75 USD, I reckon I’ll have to pass on pledging for them….
This project is live on Kickstarter right now, so if this is something you’d like to see in your collection, get on over to the project page by clicking HERE.
I’d love to hear what you think of the court card faces. Do you think it’s a nice touch or, like me, do you think that your friends and family belong on your living room mantelpiece? Leave any comments or questions in the box below.
My friend is currently teaching me how to do card tricks, but the problem is trying to find a deck of cards that really appeal to me :)
The Architect Playing cards are very unique and I’m now feeling inspired. The cards look fantastic, and they sure would impress others.
The design is appealing to me, and so I’m going to follow your link for more info on the cards.
I found your site fascinating and spent more time on it than I should have…lol ! I think real faces on the court cards is kinda creepy. I would prefer something alittle more ambiguous. I loved watching the videos and I now know what kickstarter is….very cool.
It was easy reading.
I’m not a fan of playing cards with real people’s faces on them so will be staying away from any purchase of that sort of thing. I like intricate designs though and I like a few of the ones you have featured. Thanks for such great close up photos, they really make the article come alive, in my opinion.
Thank you Nicola. These cards wouldn’t be my choice either, which is a pity because I really like the back design and other aspects of the deck. But some people seem to like the face cards – it really is a matter of personal taste. But then again, that’s why there are so many different decks out there :)
these cards are really beautiful! You almost don’t want to play with them they are so nice!
I personally liked the different styles on the face cards as it kind of gives them that extra character. These cards are pretty unique, so why not go all the way?
It would be pretty cool to see some card tricks done with these as well!
Yes, these are definitely a deck for performing with. Nice, clean imagery and great handling. Thanks for your input on the face cards – it just goes to show that it is just a matter of taste. I think most who have commented on it think the personal touch is a good idea, so I stand corrected :)
I actually think it’s pretty cool that the deck of cards actually have friends and family of Jared Hansen.
I also understand what you mean about playing with cards with actual faces on them, but it does make the deck of cards much more interesting. I think I could get use to playing cards with actual faces on them after a while.
I think how they did the joker was genius. I love the image of the joker, it’s looks a little on the creepy side even though the picture is quite simplistic.
I enjoy playing cards when I’m with my family. I never put much thought into the design of the cards. This is something I would enjoy learning more about. I look forward to reading more of your articles. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Evelyn – there are a lot of people who like the idea of the faces, so I must be in the minority :) Like I say, I may not know them personally, but I can imagine how cool it would be to be immortalised in a deck of playing cards, so I’m sure those friends and family aren’t complaining at all :D Thank you for your comment, and I’ll be adding more deck reviews, so please do pop back every now and then for a catch up :)
“Save a tree, eat a beaver”
By accident I came on your site an I must say, this is another way of collecting cards. I used to collect cards for their smell and the paper, beside that I played canasta, so I also used them. The worst collectors on earth are the ones, who buy something “just for the profit”, they aren’t collectors…they are bad ;)
Your site is easy to navigate through, the way you write is really funny and also explaining the cards very well. I also like the way how you set up the pages. I could find lots of information about playingcards and it was easy to return to the homepge. Saved the site to my favourites to see, what you’ll write more in the future, never ever change your way of writng !!!
Hope to read more soon,
Was that a little reference to the Lumberjack playing cards in there Farid….? :)
I agree with your philosophy on collecting – I’m a collector for the love of cards. Even if I had a deck that was very expensive I couldn’t sell it – because I’ve bought it to keep. In my collection. :)
I too love the smell of the cards, and especially the feel of a quality deck – and there’s something magical about opening a deck for the first time too :) Thanks for your comment :)
Hello, RudViolet. This is a very interesting post. For someone like myself that doesn’t know that much about playing card. You give a lot of information about the architect of playing cards.
I will bookmark this post to come back and learn more about playing cards later. Very good work, RudViolet. Take care.
Thank you for your comment, and please do drop by again. I have more decks to add so there’s always something new to see :)
I forgot to ask earlier on – are these cards strictly meant to be display pieces or are they actually meant to be used in a sort of poker situation?
They seem to me to be more of a level of art than a physical product – they seem so decorative with so much effort put in.
Hello again Chris :) Most, if not all, of the decks that are coming out now are printed on excellent quality card stock, so yes, potentially they *can* be played with. Whether it’s a game of cards, or whether it’s for a magic trick or a card flourish, these cards have the finish and handling needed. Some of the more ‘fancy’ decks, although they can be played with, could prove too distracting – you’d find yourself admiring the artwork on them rather than concentrating on the game :) I’ve seen decks where, due to the design, the pips are too far away from the corner for the cards to be practical. To answer your question though, this particular deck was designed by a cardist so that was his first priority. Although I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if someone bought them just for collecting. :)
I’ve been visiting your site on and off over the last month and I’m highly impressed by the designs within the cards I have seen.
I never knew there was this much popularity in the niche a card collecting.
Tell me, how much do a rare pack of cards reach – is there good money in it?
There can be good money in it, yes, but good money being that a deck could quadruple in price – you’re never going to buy a deck for $12 and sell it for a few thousand (if you ever find such a deck please let me know!!) :D Anything that is printed as a limited edition will always increase in value – to a point. An additional factor would be the designer, the card stock that the deck is printed on, and the manufacturer themselves. Also, simple desirability. I’ll soon be doing a review on a deck that was funded on Kickstarter a year and a half ago called Bicycle Dark Templar by the Cardicians. The decks cost $11 each at the time to anyone wanting to fund them, and right now there is a listing on ebay for the same deck at a buy it now price of $99.99. That’s quite an investment! They are an amazing deck – the artwork and colours are just superb. Then again, age can make cards valuable. Obviously an antique deck with all the cards present or maybe not even opened would be valuable to a collector. It’s much the same with anything that people collect. If there are collectors then there are people willing to pay money. It’s about giving them what they want :)
I just found this and feel you gave a great unbiased aside from noted personal opinion of the deck.. I appreciate that.
In regards to the court cards .. I know this may be a point of contention for some.. you will either like it or not.. I tried to respect traditional design as much as possible while making myself, the artist happy. When you design to sell, you cannot please them all.. I realized that before I made a decision to use personalized courts. I am sure on future decks I will have designs with generic faces to appease the collecting masses. They have spoken and I have heard them.
In regards to the price of the redline edition prototype: It IS expensive.. but then again.. this IS a kickstarter and I am trying to meet my goal. Having said that.. if it is funded.. they will actually be rare and potentially .. potentially worth the price if actually printed.. but if I do not make my goal.. they will not exist at all. If people do not want to pledge on that reward I can completely understand.
Like I said.. thank you for the time you spent on this article and it was a nice surprise.
Hi Jared – thank you so much for leaving a comment :)
I do always make sure that I’m honest in my opinions of the decks I review. But I always review decks that I fundamentally love, because I want to enjoy writing about them. The Architect deck is truly impressive, and as I said in the post, for me there was just that small matter of the face cards. But like you say – you’re the artist and you have to be true to yourself and you have to be happy with the deck that you’re presenting for funding :)
With the Redline deck – I’m just jealous that I can’t stretch to it :D I have a collection of rare decks that I was able to get at good prices and that are now worth a lot more, and I’d love the Redline to be among them, but alas it’s not to be… :( Anyways, 5 backers have pledged for them so at least they’ll be happy if I can’t be :)
I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment Jared. With 24 days still to go on funding, I’ve no doubt that the Architect will successfully go into production.
All the very best :)
Awesome website. Very cool images. Never realized how cool playing cards could be. Thanks for sharing. Great work! Jeffrey
Thank you Jeffrey. One thing I’m learning from doing this site is that it would seem not many people ever expected playing cards to be so artistic and, well, ‘different’. We all know the bog-standard deck, but the ones I have on here (and the many more that I don’t yet have on) have come on in leaps and bounds since the ‘olden days’. And long may it last!! :)
Great review of the Architect playing cards.
I’ve not entirely made up my mind on the court card faces question – On the one hand I think that the pictures being of actually people is a nice touch, but as you say, maybe it’s a little wasted if you don’t know who the people actually are.
With that issue aside, the rest of the deck looks very well designed and I’m sure that the Kickstarter project page will get to the required total of $9,500 very soon!
Thanks for your comment John. I’m still undecided myself… Maybe if the court cards were wearing crowns and it was just their faces that were different… but you’re right – it is a nice touch and no doubt the designer was giving a shout out to people who helped make the deck a reality :)
Outstanding post, I love the art work on these cards. I really like the blueprint approach to these cards. Thanks so much for posting.
The artwork is pretty special isn’t it Mark? I do like the clean lines and the colouring works really well, especially for cardistry. :)
Hello Jyl, just read your article and it was pretty interesting. I wasn’t aware of that information and the meaning behind the faces etc when it pertained to playing cards. My family is big on playing poker and other various card games, I haven’t yet dabbled into the whole “learning” process of playing cards and understanding everything but I definitely would like to one of these days! Great job on your article and website! Looks very nice and you’re doing a really great job! Please keep up the good work!
Hi Allan, thanks for your comment, I’m glad you like the site. You should definitely make a point of getting to know the rules of poker – it’s really not that difficult, and poker can be played in lots of different variations so it never gets boring. Probably the best way to learn is to jump in at the deep end. Next time your family is sitting down to a game, ask them to deal you in. I’m sure they’d be only too happy to help you along and you’d pick it up really quickly. Heck…. my 8 year old niece did!! By the end of her first poker session she was a pro!! :D
Well done. I really like the way you have put this together. The pictures being a dominant element is pleasing to me.
Your articles are very well written. I didn’t see an ‘about’ post. I always look for those before I go look around. I either missed it or didn’t recognize the title.
I will definitely be back and I am sharing your site with my ‘artist’ relatives and acquaintances.
Bon Chance, Mon Ami. Looking Good. ;-) J
Thanks Johann. I like to let the images do the talking as much as I can, so I’m glad you liked this.
I am working on updating my About page as it was a bit out of date. But I’ll get it on there soon :)
Also, I do appreciate you sharing my site – thank you very much :)
I like your presentation. Never would have thought people would design such cards. Keep up the great work.
I am always at your service.
Thank you San. I think people are surprised at just how many different designs and styles of playing cards are out there, so I’m happy to showcase even some of them. Keep checking back because I’ve got plenty more to post :)