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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

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Creative Collaborations, Multiple Artists

13 Articles

The Bristol Pack

The Bristol Pack, an exhibition of playing cards designed by Bristol artists, 2005.

The Bristol Pack

The Deck of Cards

The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.

The Deck of Cards

Prime Arts

Prime Arts Playing Cards were published in 2004 featuring the work of contemporary artists, illustrators and photographers.

Prime Arts

Sony Tape Rock ‘N’ Pop Playing Cards

Deck featuring “18 Rock ‘n’ Pop” Superstars portrayed on the court cards and jokers by eight of Britain’s leading illustrators.

Sony Tape Rock ‘N’ Pop Playing Cards

Monsters

A collective of artists known as Monster Illustration produced a deck entitled “Monsters” in 2004.

Monsters

Basler Fasnachts-Karten

The Basler Fasnachts deck is designed each year by a different local artist.

Basler Fasnachts-Karten

The 52 Club

The London College of Printing '52 Club' Designers and Artists playing cards, 1984.

The 52 Club

Art:Pack in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation

A deck of cards to raise awareness of the Irish Hospice Foundation.

Art:Pack in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation

Chance Playing Cards by Catalyst UK

CHANCE Playing Cards are produced by Catalyst, an open group of women artists and scientists founded in 1995 in Portsmouth UK.

Chance Playing Cards by Catalyst UK

4 Seasons Playing Cards

4 Seasons Playing Cards.

4 Seasons Playing Cards

The Deal Playing-card Project

A deck of cards produced as a creative collaboration and made possible largely through volunteers and sponsorship of various kinds.

The Deal Playing-card Project