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Generative Playing Cards Coralie Zimmerman

Generative Playing Cards

One of my Final Major Projects for university, studying and making use of a form of generative design involving playing cards. 

Responsibilities: Generative Design Research, Laser Cutting, Engraving, Product Design, Editorial Design
Tools: Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe AfterEffects, Laser Cutting
Duration: 8 weeks
Client: UAL Final Major Project



Brief: Choose an object or an experience, do quantitative and / or qualitative analysis of it, consider which elements from your analysis to work from, create a recipe to recreate the object or experience follow the recipe to make outcomes.

Generative design is an iterative design process, using the repetition of a process in order to generate outcomes. This usually involves a set of rules or restrictions so as to reduce the amount and variety of outputs. The variety of outputs is infinite, ranging from images, sounds, architectural models, and animations to statistical graphs.

 For my object, I chose a deck of playing cards. I chose this item as I love to play cards and board games, and wanted to analyse the act of playing a game further.



As part of my experimentation process, I recorded different games being played in order to capture the movement of each game; how they are similar and how they differ. I studied poker, backgammon, and mahjong, as they are all well-known games and each use alternative materials: playing cards for poker, round pieces for backgammon, and square tiles for mahjong. From this, I used Adobe AfterEffects to track the movements recorded.

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After tracing movements from each game, I decided to focus on poker - being arguably the most played game across the world.

I traced the movement of each individual card from when it was picked up to when it was placed back down.

This showed the card's purpose from start to finish, giving me the data needed to create cards that had no information other than their journey and purpose in the game of poker.

I chose to create my own set of cards that focus on their movement journey in the game.

I found lasercutting clear tinted acrylic was the best medium for my cards, the red and black reflecting playing card suit colours, and the translucent nature worked as an opposite to the concealed nature of cards in poker.



My final outcome consisted of a set of 52 playing cards, made of engraved tinted acrylic. 
All meaning of winning or losing, strategy and luck are stripped down and only the movements of the game remain. The cards question the meaning and reasoning behind card games, revealing the act of playing cards in its simplest form - as a set of movements.

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