Saturday, 20 August 2011

Playing Cards

So here's a thing I've been wanting to talk about for a while.

In my day job, I work for a small group of international colleges. There are a lot of different elements to what I do there - from designing brochures, print ads, leaflets and flyers, right through to designing actual signage within the colleges, getting branded umbrellas made for day trips... it's varied, to say the least.

One part of the business is persueding students to come to our colleges, and this is frequently done by trips abroad to meet education agents. Giving gifts is a fairly established part of this, right across the industry. These can range from branded pens and notebooks, to sweets, postcards, mugs, calendars, and many other such things. The main aim is for the gift to be both functional (so the agent will want to actually keep it in their office close to hand) and well branded (so they remember who gave it to them). An added bonus is if the gift can in some way promote the colleges at the same time.

Something I thought of a few months back was a branded deck of playing cards. Everyone loves playing cards - they encourage socialising, they're good for entertainment on trips abroad, they're small and easy to carry, and they have a lot of possibility for branding.

So we set to designing our very own pack of cards. One of the parts which I most enjoyed was designing the reverse of the cards. My attempts started out slightly pitifully - playing with the logo and trying to see if it made a good repeat pattern. Turns out... it doesn't. I spent quite a long time trying though!

This was probably the best I came up with, but still not brilliant.

This one looks like some kind of party gone wrong.

I decided it was time to go completely back to the drawing board, and started again from scratch. Here were some ideas...

After talking about it though, we decided the backs of the cards needed some kind of branding involved. I spent quite a while trying to shoehorn this into my existing designs...

But ultimately decided to go back to the drawing board AGAIN, and start from scratch. This was a good decision, because I produced these. Which, if I do say so myself, I really like.

This was the final design which we went with.

I also illustrated the box in a similar style, and an ace of spades and creepy joker. The rest of the cards featured a selection of photographs by our lead photographer Wayne, showing the whole spectrum of college life, from our summer camps, to our classrooms, to day excursions, all in delightfully vivid technicolour. If I'd had my way, I'd probably have liked to illustrate every single card, but the whole point of the project was to promote the colleges, and I think this was definitely an effective way of doing it. The pack functions both as a pack of playing cards, and as a portable photographic marketing tool.

So anyway... here are some shots of the final packs, which eventually arrived yesterday.


Anonymous said...

I love these posts where you show the behind the scenes of your work. I love the final designs of these playing cards, particularly the semi-circles. Nice job!

Lucy said...

These are MEGA awesome. Emma!!! I love seeing how good you're getting ^_^
I think you chose the right designs; they remind of art nouveau crossed with a circuit board. Like I say: awesome. & ingenious branding idea!