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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Deck the Halls » » Review: Mono - X Playing Cards (Luke Wadey) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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Mono - X Playing Cards

Created with the support of Kickstarter in 2018, the Mono - X deck was designed by Luke Wadey, a London-based graphic designer who has also produced the popular Grid Series of Typographic Playing Cards. Mono - X has card flourishers in mind, and Luke's aim was "to explore how the family of a single colour can create design with impact and ambition." It's intended to be the first in a larger Mono collection, so perhaps we'll be seeing further family members in coming years.

A distinctly mono feel greets us immediately upon our first look at the tuck box, which features a minimalist black and white colour scheme, and a custom seal. The absence of colours amplifies the style of the design itself, which has a series of lines in different thicknesses and lengths. Careful observers will notice that this design cleverly creates a large X, which is reflected in the name of the deck.

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Luke's concept for this deck is worth sharing: "We live in a world surrounded by colour. Some of us have the ability to see it more vividly that others, some of us can detect differences in colour more easily too. But what happens when we isolate one of those colours and explore it's range? I present to you Mono, a collection of playing cards design to do just take; to take a single colour and all of it's tints, and see what beauty it can create in monochrome. For Mono - X I wanted to created a distinctive pattern to compliment the monochrome use of black."

While black dominates the tuck box, experienced card handlers will know that cards with black borders are impractical due to signs of wear that quickly become apparent. That's why it's welcome to see that the colour palette on the cards themselves is the inverse of what is on the tuck box, with the white lines on black being replaced by black lines on white. The card backs feature the large two-way X, while a grainy texture type gradient helps keep the overall look grounded and earthy. By opting for a borderless design, Luke has given himself the freedom to have the lines go right to the edges of the cards, to maximize their impact in fans and other visual flourishes.

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The card faces apply the line style design to all elements of the artwork, including the custom pips. Half of each pip is fully inked, to ensure clarity of design, while the other half uses the lined pattern used throughout the rest of the deck, for a very creative look.

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The court cards also utilize the lined style of the deck. These are all monochrome, but fully one half of the character design uses the pattern and style familiar from the card backs. This ensures that the court cards are still readily identifiable and recognizable, and yet have a very original look completely in keeping with the rest of the deck.

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Aspects of the design also go right to the edges of the front of the cards as part of a deliberate full-bleed design, that ensures that fanning the faces of the cards also generates visual appeal.

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Each suit has a different number of lines on the side, with 1 for Spades, 2 for Diamonds, 3 for Clubs, and 4 for Hearts.

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Different shades ensure that the traditionally red and black suits can still be easily distinguished, despite the absence of colour. To achieve this, the traditional red for Hearts and Diamonds has been replaced with gray.

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With printing by the United States Playing Card Company with their crushed Bee stock paperstock and air cushion finish, this deck handles just as good as it looks. And magicians will enjoy having the inclusion of a double-backed card.

The Mono - X is a fine example of the style that can be conveyed with a minimalist design that makes excellent use of negative space to produce a traditionally styled design with a very modern look.

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So where can you get decks like the one featured here? Any reputable online retailer that sells custom playing cards should have these available (e.g. Rare Playing Cards). If they don't, send them to Murphy's Magic, a magic wholesaler with an enormous range of custom playing cards that they sell in bulk quantities to dealers and retailers around the world.
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BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
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