PaperSpecsGallery.com Presents: Ephemerid Playing Cards
If you’re a lover of print, chances are you have a drawer, a cabinet, or even a whole closet filled with little scraps of paper: used concert tickets, the odd funky postcard, old black-and-white snaps you picked up in a junk shop years ago. So intrigued by his own collection of ephemera was prolific letterpress artist Fabien Barral, aka MR CUP, he transformed some of it into a deck of cool playing cards. Not only are these “Ephemerid” cards aesthetically intriguing, but their use of print relics of the past also serve as a constant reminder of just what makes print so important to us today – its longevity.
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“Each card comes with a unique design based on my thousands of letters, invoices, bills, tickets, and photos,” Fabien explains. These he scanned into his computer and manipulated with Photoshop before having them offset printed CMYK onto playing-card stock.
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What Makes These COOL Playing Cards?
True, there is certainly no shortage of designer playing cards at the moment. Yet the Ephemerid deck sets itself apart by avoiding the computer-perfect curves and lines of today in favor of an eclectic assortment of artwork and typography from the past. In lesser hands this could’ve been a complete mess, but Fabien demonstrates a discerning eye for balancing seemingly disparate elements. Tax stamps and old-timey photographs share space with handwritten notes and postal receipts.
While the name “Ephemerid” was partially derived from the term “ephemera,” it’s also a nod to “éphéméride,” a type of French calendar that dispenses interesting facts throughout the year. Look closely at these cards and you will discover inspiring quotes and aphorisms on each one.
The Deluxe Tuck Box
Finally, what deck of cool playing cards would be complete without a stunning tuck box to store them in? This is usually where most designers concentrate the full power of their creativity (and budget), and the “deluxe” edition of the Ephemerid deck certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Die cut to perfectly fit the deck, the standard edition of the box is offset printed and embossed, while the deluxe edition features white and gold hot foil stamping, as well as embossing and distinctive black letterpress printing on Colorplan Black paper – all printed by Studio Pression.
As part of this Kickstarter project, the designer offered a combo set – standard and deluxe tuck boxes – which arrived held together by a black sleeve featuring black hot foil, which in itself is a piece of art.
Taken together, the jumble of illustration and type styles combined with the modern precision of the printing and finishing techniques make for cards that are as timeless as they are beautiful. And they’re also the perfect things to pull out the next time someone hassles you about all the paper ephemera you refuse to get rid of. Simply say, “I’m not a hoarder, I’m working on creating my own playing cards!” [You can purchase your own deck of Ephemerid cards here while supplies last.]
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.