If I would be asked about the best five decks of 2012, I would include, without any doubt, the Ornate decks: Sapphire and Scarlet.
Ornate decks, created by Randy Butterfield (Midnight Card Company) have become one of the most acclaimed and desired products along last months. The design is stunning and elegant, and the whole image is simply amazing. They are printed by USPCC in Aristocrat stock and Premium Magic Finish so high quality guaranteed.
No sense to talk more about these decks without showing the cards (click to see it bigger).
Furthermore, I will dedicate this post to an interview of my good friend Randy, not only a fantastic designer but also a fantastic guy. From the very first time I contacted him he has offered me his help and he has indeed given me a lot of fresh ideas for my next future deck so I thought it would be a fantastic idea to share his kindness to all my readers. Enjoy the interview and don’t miss the info about the Ornate decks release info at the end of the post.
- Max – Hello Randy, nice to meet you (again) and thank you so much to make a break in your frantic pre-release activity to answer some questions for this Max Playing Cards interview.
- Randy Butterfield – No problem!
- Max – I know you have been working for years on graphic design but, why designing a deck of cards?
- Randy – I’m a night owl and like to stay creative by working on personal projects at night, after my wife and kids have gone to sleep. I was at Gen-Con last year with my cousin. We got a booth and were trying to sell a Board Game he created and I collaborated by creating the graphics. That is where we were told, very often, about Kickstarter.com. After the first day at the show we went back to my house and immediately jumped online to check it out. The very first project I saw was the Revision 1 Deck by Adam Clarkson. I was floored to see a completely custom deck of playing cards and would even be printed by the U.S. Playing Card Company! After that, I knew I had to create a deck of my own!
- Max – Is it your first job in cards artwork?
- Randy– Yep. During my day job I work on a lot of Gift Pack designs for the alcohol industry. My experiences with Gift Packs are what pushed me towards designing the 4 custom Brick Boxes. I love taking what would normally be a plain White Box and disguising it to look like something else entirely by just adding graphics.
- Max – Are you interested on cards beyond designing (collector, magician, manipulator, player, …)?
- Randy– I play Poker at least once a month with a group of guys in my neighborhood. It’s a great stress-reliever, especially with a couple little ones at home! I’ve slowly started turning into a mild collector over the past year. I mostly like to get cards that have a design I’m intrigued by. I’ve also played around with fanning a deck, but I’m horrible at it!
- Max – Which are the main difficulties you have had creating these decks?
- Randy – I think the hardest part is just keeping track of all of the different face cards. Especially once you think they’re all done but then notice one or two little things that should be fixed. Then you have to go into all of the designs and make sure the fix is consistent throughout. That can get tricky and time-consuming.
- Max – For people interested on creating their own deck, what about the “business” issues? Would you recommend using HOPC (or other big company) to take the control over the whole process of editing a deck? Which are, from your point of view, the advantages and disadvantages of that decision?
- Randy – If I would’ve just done a Deck design only, there wouldn’t have been any business decisions to make. HOPC did such a great job of handling getting the cards in production it freed up a lot of down time for myself. With that downtime I decided to take on the extra items like the Poker Chips and Brick Boxes. As far as the design of the Deck, HOPC doesn’t act as a Creative Director and make you change your vision or anything like that. I would compare them to a Creative Consultant. Kevin and Alex have a lot of experience in this industry so they were very knowledgeable and had a lot of advice when we were figuring out the direction for the Gaff Cards. Their experience was also very handy when a few hiccups popped up from the USPCC.
- Max – You have designed not only the decks but also some “complements” like the brick boxes and poker chips. What about the experience? Any other “surprise” for your fans?
- Randy – Not really. The only other items are the Art Prints and some Red and Blue Joker Shirts. I was trying to partner with a company that produces some really high-end and elegant Card Cases – AceKase. The plan was to offer Silver and Gold ORNATE branded cases. The etching process didn’t come to fruition and the Plan B of screen-printing on the Cases wasn’t cost effective to produce.
- Max – How many decks will be printed? How many are going to be sold by HOPC and through your own website?
- Randy – For the 1st Edition 2,500 Decks of each color were produced. All of the Playing Cards will be sold from the HOPC site. Hopefully people like them and we get to do some more editions!
- Max – Next release on HOPC is going to be crazy as they are going to make a “shop party” with more releases and gifts at the same time. Do you think many collectors are going to loose the chance to get your decks?
- Randy – I don’t have enough knowledge in the number of collectors to answer in a factual way. I would hope everyone who wants a set of my cards would get a chance to purchase them.
- Max – What do you think about the way this market is becoming more and more stressing, specially for collectors, and the way big companies are feeding the secondary market and the insane increase of prices?
- Randy – I kind of avoid all of that. I’m getting a nice little collection going but I don’t go out of my way to get decks, like the White Monarchs, that crash the servers.
- Max –Will there be more creations in the near future?
- Randy – I know what I want to do for my next deck and it should be pretty cool looking. I do all of the work on the ORNATES late at night (inspiration for “Midnight Cards”), after my wife and kids have gone to sleep for the night. The past few months have been exhausting, so I plan on taking at least a month off at night after the dust has settled from Tuesday’s release! Then I’ll think more about my next deck design.
- Max – Thank you very much. I am sure your projects will be successful.
- Randy – Thank you Max!
Ornate decks will be available at HOPC in a “Mega Release Event” on Tuesday August 14th at 8PM EST with many other surprises. Some other exclusive stuff like some brick boxes will be also available at the official Midnight Playing Cards Company shop.
You can also get connected to the event in Facebook.