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N°17 Bicycle, Regular, Crown Edition LTD74 (2015)

N°17 Bicycle, Regular, Crown Edition LTD74 (2015)


With N°17 I reckoned it was high time to align the deck with the renowned Bicycle brand. For a playing card designer, I deemed it essential to include at least one Bicycle-branded deck in my portfolio, as a tribute to the rich lineage of playing cards.

Enhancements were predominantly focused on the design of the court cards. The Cardlauncher Edition felt incomplete, with monochromatic and relatively flat illustrations, lacking the allure I sought. That’s an inevitable outcome when working under tight deadlines, granting just seven days for a custom deck—an endeavor doomed to inadequacy. Nonetheless, these served as a suitable foundation. I endowed the illustrations on red cards with warm hues and those on black cards with cooler tones. All Queens assumed frontal poses, while Jacks and Kings showcased their profiles.

A graphic element—a scroll with an empty circle—divides the figures. The symmetry in these cards is straightforward, and the figures don’t intertwine, a departure from my approach in other decks. A colored circle with a tone-on-tone pattern, unique to each suit, adorns the background. Circumscribing text drawn from ancient epic poems enhances the composition. Though the excerpts were chosen at random, they originate from the Iliad, the Æneid, the Odyssey, and other ancient texts.

The No.17 “Unbranded” version featured identical face designs as the Bicycle deck, albeit with a distinct color scheme for the back design, prominently white. The tuckbox displayed an alternate layout, incorporating a conspicuous 17 with the number 7 morphing into a feline form. 

The four Aces underwent a radical transformation. In this deck, uniform visual prominence was given to all the aces. Traditionally, the Ace of Spades held a dominant design and embellishments, often used for promotional purposes due to historical factors. In the case of No.17’s Ace of Spades, I aimed to incorporate a distinct element. While I initially considered a dragonfly, I eventually chose a black cat.

In February 2015, the Kickstarter Campaign was launched, introducing the No.17 “unbranded” upon achieving a stretch goal. Additional offerings were also unveiled, including the exclusive Crown Edition, replacing the Gran Riserva. This name change stemmed from a significant alteration in the tuckbox design, moving away from the customary wax sigil and signature approach.

Crafting the Crown Edition posed a manual labor challenge, necessitating intense collaboration with UK-based Clear Cut Creations. Careful paper selection achieved a visual contrast between laser-etched light gray sections and the unetched areas. Trial samples were dispatched for testing before finalizing the setup and producing the tuckboxes. Although precise lasercutting was employed, the absence of score-lines posed a folding challenge. I meticulously carved score-lines one by one with an embosser tool and then applied red metallic foil to designated areas. The crowned 17 cutouts on both sides were filled with the red foil. The culmination involved meticulous folding, double-sided adhesive tape application, and inclusion of an extra card. The back of this card displayed a diamond pattern, while the face displayed a Stockholm17 certificate with a signature.

The Crown Edition’s cards come from the Bicycle branded variant, which necessitated repurposing 75 Bicycle decks for this unique edition. The defining trait of this edition lay not only in its cards and lasercuts but also in the careful craftsmanship, employing basic scrapbooking skills and locally-sourced materials. Backers pledging above 3000 SEK (approximately $350 USD) or taking part in a limited release, were granted the Crown Edition.

Among the array of add-ons and small items, one captivating addition emerged—the sterling silver Ace of Spades pendant. I stumbled upon a proficient team of goldsmiths from South Africa whose logo intriguingly featured a spade symbol. Known as House of Kallie, their active presence on social media hinted at their potential to accept custom orders from abroad. Months of collaborative effort ensued, accompanied by numerous trials and iterations.


 Funded with Kickstarter in 2015
A total of 3300 decks manufactured by USPC Co.
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