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Kaleidoscope Flip-Book Animated Playing Cards (Kickstarter)

Another nifty flip-book animated deck of playing cards from fig. 23

Cost: ~US$12 per deck
Current funding level: over 50% funded
Kickstarter ends: Friday March 18, 2022


I love custom playing cards, but I especially love playing cards that have an element of novelty about them. Decks with flip-book animation are among my personal favourites.

And when it comes to producing creative decks of this type, designer and animator Stephen W. Brandt has to be one of the most prolific creators. Stephen is the man behind the fig. 23 brand, and in the past couple of years his output has been quite remarkable, with well over half a dozen great novelty decks, all of which feature flip-book animation.

His output in this genre was certainly a big reason for him being nominated as 2021 Artist of the Year by the world's largest club for playing card collectors, 52 Plus Joker. And perhaps it's not entirely surprising, given the diverse skills that he brings to the table, as an animator, broadcast designer, art director, illustrator, and graphic designer.


His Kaleidoscope Flip-Book Animated Playing Cards is the latest of his projects, and is currently up for funding on Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding platform he's successfully used to produce his previous flip-book animated decks.

We're probably all familiar with the concept: by using your thumb to quickly flip through a deck of playing cards, the individual pictures combine to produce an animated image. Playing card connoisseurs refer to this as "taking a deck to the movies". And of course a deck of playing cards is perfect for this kind of flip-book animation, since it contains around 52 cards that are just the right size.


This latest design sees Stephen move slightly away from some of his previous storybook themed decks, and towards a more abstract design that focuses on patterns and colours. The animated design reminds me of some of my favourite screen saver designs from the time when PCs were first using colour screens. As the name suggests, it is a kaleidoscope image of swirling patterns and changing colours, creating a captivating and hypnotic look.

The animated design has been placed on the face of the cards, and when looking carefully you'll see the animated bird that is the recurring motif of the fig. 23 brand. Pinks, greens, and yellows combine, with a deliberately designed retro look that Stephen describes as a "1970s throwback design". To help amplify the visual animations, the court card characters have been minimized so that they won't take away from the moving kaleidoscopic patterns. See this animated gif for the full experience of what the cards offer when animated.

Printing is by USPCC, which in my view represents a stock and handling upgrade from some of fig. 23's previous decks that were printed by MPC.


Kickstarter link

Other decks of playing cards with flip-book animation that have been created by Stephen W. Brandt are available at his website Clockwork Empire City, Clockwork La Ville Lumiere, Clockwork Quackington, Praha Celestial Clock, Montana Mustache Manufacturing Co, Wizard of Oz, Yukon Cornelius and the Misfits.

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