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Ravn IIII & X (2020)

Ravn IIII & X (2020)

[ RED - BLUE - X ]

For this project I decided to make a new back design, instead of recoloring the one of the first 3 editions. Even the ambigram and the tuckbox went through a redesign phase, as I wanted to make a new design for everything rather than recoloring an existing deck. However, I wanted to keep the frame of the original back design to give a sense of continuity to the project. The inner design went through a makeover and I removed the dodecahedron with the caged raven. I did some trials with geometric shapes, mandala, interlocked floral patterns, and finally I chose a recurring graphic element that is known to those observers that will recognize it in the left hand of the Jack of Spades.

Designing the Ace of Spades was really exciting. I love working on intricate details, and if you hold a magnifying glass to a poker-sized card, you’ll spot most of them. I know that many details might go unnoticed, but I think collectors and playing card enthusiasts often enjoy searching for them.

Because of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, even the raven had to stay home due to the lockdown. I created the inside and the structure of the ace, revealing its architectural space. However, remember that this is just a part, and some areas might seem a bit disconnected. It’s like looking at a section of a big ship’s construction; if you focus on one part, it’s similar to this ace’s illustration.

The work done for the two jokers is rooted in the same metaphysical concept, infused with a touch of enchantment. The first joker of the pair portrays a feat by a true illusionist. Two magic boxes, each with a lid, are aligned as if about to merge. The upper one hovers in the air, a raven peering out while holding a thread tied to the lower box’s lid, hinting at an impending closure. In contrast, the raven on the lower box gazes inside – a sort of magical interdimensional portal – catching a glimpse of its aerial counterpart.

Essentially, it gazes at itself, unaware of this strange loop. This illusion is named “The Loop” on the card.

The mastermind behind this illusion is Sir Ravn the 4th, a raven gentleman featured in the second joker. He sports a top hat and circular sunglasses, striking poses and exhibiting cardistry finesse. Positioned behind him, one of the boxes stands ajar, the raven peeking out, revealing an Ace of Diamonds.

The tuckbox design is fairly simple visually. The ambigram is the main element on the front with a raven on it. But behind that, there’s a nice touch—blind-embossed tree branches on the whole front side, adding a tactile feel to it. Picking the right materials is a big part of making the tuckbox, and Ravn IIII’s tuckbox is made from uncoated paper with splatters, stains, and a texture that gives it an old-timey vibe.

Just like the rest of the variations, Ravn IIII also came to life through a Kickstarter campaign. It all kicked off with the classic red and blue decks, and then the Ravn X emerged as a mid-campaign surprise.

Ravn X boasts a sleek black tuckbox embellished with striking red and black foil accents. But what truly stands out is an intriguing twist in the inner design: the graphics on the outside have been intentionally inverted for a distinct purpose. Among the community of playing card enthusiasts, there’s a penchant for creative modifications—fancy cuts, alterations of all kinds. One such technique is known as the “flipside.” Here, adept individuals unglue the side and bottom flaps of the tuckbox, meticulously remove the adhesive, and reassemble the box with reversed sides. The inner graphics become the outer ones, granting the deck a whole new appearance. The Ravn X’s interior print has been tailored for these endeavors, anticipating the possibility of such artistic alterations.

 Funded with Kickstarter in 2020
a total of 10,199 decks manufactured by USPC Co.
Tuckboxes printed by Arlington Printing & Playing Card Co. 


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