An update on the PlayCards…

Back in 2021…

After I had had the idea of producing the PlayCards, and after the even better idea of getting a designer involved, I spoke with the wonderful Claire Selby of about how her agency, born of the most creative minds from Kingston University, might help me make the product a reality.

Claire introduced me to the equally wonderful Ellie Dallison, and we got to work. The output was the design concepts for the PlayCards, which you can see below: 

The graphics are beautiful linocuts, a style of print that I adore for reasons too complicated to explain in an update. I was able to use these to further spread the idea, and then I got some interest from a publisher of cards. He was interested, I was interested. But in the end, he decided that he wasn’t that interested after all, and that’s fine because he’s got a business to run and I’ve got an idea for a book that turned into a pack of cards that I just need to get out of my system…

And then life happened…

Nothing too big and serious, just that I realised that I needed to put my energy into finding a new job, and that I was also feeling slightly hurt that the publisher wasn’t interested because pride and brittle ego….

But I tested…

Over the course of 2022, I’ve been able to play with the PlayCards in a number of ways. There have been online sessions with teams from all sorts of organisations, and also a few in-person sessions with people in actual rooms which have been delightful. I’ve also sent out about 20 packs of prototype cards to see how people found them. I even bought a paper guillotine to cut them (rather than my fingers).

What all this testing has shown is that they’re not a daft idea, and some people really seem to get some value out of the cards. Even complete strangers who don’t know me and so, therefore, aren’t just being nice.

The windfall…

Earlier this year I was asked to create another set of cards about something completely different, and I was paid a reasonable sum of money to do that work. And so I decided that rather than just sticking that money in my pension, or buying even more synthesisers that I don’t really need, I’d use the money to fund a print run for the PlayCards. I’d originally wanted to run a crowdfunding exercise, but given that I’ve now got a new job, and given everything that anyone has ever told me about crowdfunding seems to indicate it’s a full-time job in its own right, funding the first run seems to be a sensible idea.

This might mean that I end up with a box full of unsold playing cards, but it’s probably worth the risk. PlayCards are not a “Get Rich Quick” scheme. They are a passion project, and something I need to get out. And, get out of my system.

The next steps…

Today I spoke with Ellie about what we need to do to get these to production. There are some tweaks to the design that need to happen, particularly involving getting a more prominent font for the card skill (the bit that says “Work Out Loud” in the pictures above). I also need to get the full set of cards laid out for print, a couple of information cards designed, and a carton laid out too.

I also need to start to pull together a commerce site for selling the things, and a set of content to better support the cards.

All this probably means we’ll go to press at the end of the year. And hopefully, the cards will be available in early 2023. Which, for a child of the 1970s, is THE FUTURE.

But what happens next?

I’ll keep on talking about it because Working Out Loud is a key skill in the cards, and sharing how these things work is really useful. It helps me work through the process, and it might be at least of curiosity if not actually useful to you.

That’s it for now. Can’t wait to have some lovely, professionally designed and printed cards available!


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One thought on “PlayCards – the journey to product Ep. 1

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