Great design inspiration is all around us. Sometimes the best examples are so common that we see them all the time without a second thought. The cars we drive, the advertisements in our mailbox, the cover art on that new album you just downloaded, all of these are teaching their own little design lessons and if we would but listen, we just might learn something.
Playing cards have been around in some form or another dating all the way back to 9th century China. By the 14th Century, they were making their way around Europe – not directly from China but via the Mameluke empire of Egypt.
There are still two design patterns followed in Europe at this time: Parisian (popular in France) and Rouennais (popular in England), the latter of these having a great deal of influence on the card designs that most of us know today.
The four card suits that we are familiar with – hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades, were created by the French around 1480 A.D. The idea of playing with suits came from the Italo-Spanish deck, which contained cups, coins, clubs and swords. The Mameluke decks had goblets, gold coins, swords and polo-sticks. The simple French suits were much easier and cheaper to manufacture because simple stamps could be used for the numbered cards instead of the traditional woodcut method.
Have you ever really thought about how well-designed playing cards are? You might scoff at this notion but I’m quite serious, they’re a shining example of the marriage of aesthetics and usability into a coherent and nearly perfect product.
There can be different kinds of games that can be played using cards they are rummy, solitaire and many. There are modern card games too played like UNO that is everyone’s favourite. Both traditional and modern card games can now be played in both online and offline modes.
Many say that the four kings (kings of hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds) resemble four powerful kings in history. They were David (spades), Alexander (clubs), Charlemagne (hearts), and Augustus Caesar (diamonds). It is also said that out of all four things the king of hearts is shown without a moustache. The reason being that since he represents the heart, he should be free of any artificial decoration. The truth, however, is lost in time.
What is your favourite card game?