History of Design Lecture 2 (Reflection 1)


Woodblock Playing Card, Jack of Diamonds, c. 1400

These early renaissance playing cards actually originated from China in the 9th century, and was brought to Europe in the 14th century. These cards were initially considered to be for the rich only, since they were very expensive to get due to each of the cards being individually hand-painted. However, with the rise of woodblock painting, these cards became easily accessible to people of all financial statuses, since woodblock printing made it a lot easier to mass produce the cards.

I like this piece because of the concept of woodblock printing, and also the idea of tabletop games. Not only do these cards provide entertainment for the community, they also showcase the talents and skills of the people who were capable of carving the wood with such intricacy. Following that, I feel that the evolution of playing cards made it such that more focus is place on the design aspect of it, rather than the process of making it, since everything is mass produced. Playing cards is a good outlet for designers to showcase their original concepts of the various suits and numbers.

Modern playing cards: