Deadlines often dictate the creative limits even when we push them but not every project is paced at lightning speed, especially when you just want to get it right. Penguin Magic took their time with a new playing card deck called Emperor, featuring a sophisticated penguin as their central character.
Creative Director Kevin Reylek teamed up with Mark Stutzman on a new deck that began two years ago after a brief meeting at a 52 Plus Joker card convention in Orlando, Florida.
“We had some quick chemistry,” explains Mark. “Talking about card design is effortless with someone like Kevin.”
Reylek mentioned his idea for a new deck that would showcase the company mascot for Penguin Magic, a place where he had begun to build a line of smartly designed decks. Stutzman saw an opportunity to infuse his illustration style into a signature deck with this quirky bird. After Reylek’s quick pitch, Stutzman was all in.
Things kicked off quickly as the two set out to fashion a back design, joker, ace, and tuck case that would create a complete package for card collectors and magicians. Stutzman worked up various penguin poses that personified the character in black & white attire. He also used snow flakes and decorative elements to lend a classic feel commonly associated with traditional decks.
Back and forth the creative process went before a final design was chosen and the wheels for a final product were set in motion. But that would slow to a glacial pace as other pressing projects took precedence for Reylek’s team. Two years forward and Stutzman gets word the deck would be launched on KickStarter with a full menu of extras to satisfy the most savvy collector.
“Kevin really outdid himself with the KickStarter campaign,” said Stutzman. “He took the basic deck design and turned it into a fully themed product line that included the cards, special packaging, coins, and even a lapel pin. I was quite impressed and pleased to see how he took it to the next level.”
In just the first four hours, the campaign reached 25% of it’s funding goal of $20,000. This promising launch has both Stutzman and Reylek excited about the reception. Several bonus options were made available right out of the gate which certainly helped with interest.
“The printing costs are high-ish due to adding in the limited gilded deck as a base goal rather than a stretch goal,” shared Reylek. “Comparing this one to one of our more successful campaigns last year, Emperor is outpacing the other one in the same amount of time, so I'll take that as a good sign.”
The campaign is now live on KickStarter with a video introduction Reylek and some of Stutzman’s working sketches of the preliminary back design.