Card Design v.3 – Products, Materials, Software, Considerations

January 24th

Card Design

In this segment I explore my goals and expectations for the project and try to apply solutions to create an ‘alpha’ set of my playing cards.

What is my goal?

  • Med-High Quality, (Touch – Sight)
  • Highly Illustrated,
  • Visuals Fit the Character’s Affiliation (light or dark – decorate border with aesthetically fitting symbols – skulls vs flowers?),
  • Unique Style & Feel (Currently undecided on),
  • Play around with new techniques (metal borders, non standard shapes and designs, non standard materials),
  • Cards must obviously show content & what it means for players,

How will I achieve these goals?

  • Explore what is known (what are card games standard production methods?)
    • What do they look like?
    • What are they made of?
    • How are they made?
  • Test Designs & Prototype with Materials,
  • Explore production methods (in-house, out of house),

Card Game Standards

In order to explore – what is known – I conducted a brief visual google search in order to find what most appropriately fits under the label of ‘card games’, I found some expected things and some things that were quite unexpected.

I was surprised to see the prevalence of traditional card games, such as: Poker, in this search – however, upon further thought, this is not so unexpected. Traditional games like this are what all card games take influence from, this can be evidenced by the stark similarities in size and style between all of the images below. Based on this I feel it is safe to say that other than through digital adaptations of traditional games not much has changed from the beginning to now – perhaps it’s time to play with the genre and see what’s possible?!

screenshot-from-2019-01-24-17-41-38-e1548352185779.pngDefining the standard:

  • lightweight,
  • glossy/matte printing (digital design – sent to physical print),
  • paper/card material,
  • rectangular shape (2.5 × 3.5 inches (64 × 89 mm)) (Waugh, F, 2018)
  • laminated (preserves quality and prolongs lifespan),
  • visual symbols (numbers, pictures & text),

What works?

The standard that fits most card games works for a reason, the size is appropriate as it fits into the hand nicely, the information is displayed simply so it can be easily understood, they are laminated to preserve quality and they are lightweight to make them super-portable.

So what we are left to play with are mostly aesthetic and material choices – this suits my initial goals as I don’t want to ‘re-define’ card games – I simply want to expand the genre and explore what will work for my project.

At this stage I would like to explore with materials, however, I should probably focus on my visual choices and design before examining what materials fit as I need to structure this aspect of design around the other visual attributes.

Exploring design



  • Light & Dark Palettes – needs exploring


  • titles:
  • names:
  • light variation:
  • dark variation:
  • neutral affliction:
  • body (text):
  • small text:
  • logos:


Need to define characters and other card types, once defined I need to give each character attributes and attacks.

  • name,
  • class,
  • attribute (light, dark),
  • health,
  • stamina,
  • attacks,
  • spells,
  • abilities,
  • rarity (common, rare, heroic, godlike, ultra),
  • card number,
  • set number/details/name,
  • illustrated by section,
  • other credits – Last Rites TM.


Printing & Prototyping


  • Paper/card,
  • Lightweight metals?,
  • Holographic films,
  • Other ‘holographic’ like papers and films? – how do they look in comparison?
  • Transparency,
  • Matte,
  • Glossy.


  • all depends on a combination of material and design,


  • Based on what exists (other products)
  • compare printed prototypes,


Out of house printing

Mini- 32mm x 45mm, 1.25″ x 1.75″ (, n/a)

Poker Size – 63mm x 88mm, 2.48″ x 3.46″ (, n/a)

Transparent – 63mm x 88mm, 2.48″ x 3.46″ (, n/a)


Bibliography (n/a). Custom Micro Size Cards. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 24th Jan, 2019]. (n/a). Custom Blank Cards. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 24th Jan, 2019]. (n/a). Custom Transparent Playing Cards. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 24th Jan, 2019].

Plagge, K. (2018). How New Pokemon Cards Are Made. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 24th Jan, 2019] (n/a) How To Design Your Own Playing Cards. [online]. Available at: 24th Jan, 2019].

Waugh, F. (2018). What are the dimensions of a standard playing card?. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 24th Jan, 2019].

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