Super Sleek, Modern And Minimalist Playing Cards By Joe Doucet

According to Joe Doucet: “A good number of projects begin as internal experiments in the studio. Minim is one such project. Invited to a friend’s poker night, it occurred to me while looking a the cards that there was a great deal of historical baggage and useless information in a contemporary deck of playing cards such as the repetition of the number and suit on the face of the cards. For example: How many times do you count the ten spades laid out in the center of the card vs just reading the number 10 and the spade in the upper left hand corner? Why do cards have an orientation at all when all of the pertinent information is contained in a small portion of the cards visible when fanned out? Then there’s the Medieval reference to a royal hierarchy. It seemed to me that playing cards were a great vehicle for an experiment in reduction.

The placement of information was the first thing to address. When one is playing a game of cards, the only place that one really needs to look to understand what they have in their hands is in the upper left hand side. This is really all that is exposed when their cards are fanned out, so I placed my focus on putting information only there. Keeping that in mind, all other elements are merely decorative, such as an illustration of a king with a sword through his head, so I naturally eschewed that. To differentiate between suits was the next and most challenging part of the experiment. It was clear that one needed color as an aid to distinguish between, say, spades and hearts, so I saw no reason to move away from the traditional black and red. The shapes themselves took, many iterations from keeping with tradition to a completely new form. Ultimately I decided on a compromise, Clear reference to the traditional hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades but with a view to reduction. The last hurdle was to design the backs of the cards. The purpose of having a back is so that one doesn’t accidentally show his cards to an opponent. All that was necessary to do this was to place a diagonal line running from upper left to lower right, regardless of how you hold the cards, indicating that indeed you are showing the back of the cards.

The result of these thoughts is Minim. A contemporary take on an age-old playing medium. The cards were picked up and produced by the American design brand Areaware after being shown to the owner Noel Wiggins, who thought they would resonate with their audience of design-minded customers. His instincts proved correct as the cards continue to be a best seller for the brand and are found in many design shops around the world.”

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