Custom Playing Cards for Magicians - My Experience
When I learned my first card trick at the age of 12, I wanted to stick with it forever! I gravitated toward card magic because of the endless possibilities, even with just a single deck. I’ve always found it fascinating that such a small box can contain a limitless supply of entertainment. As a teenager, I loved entertaining my friends with card tricks late at night while hanging out at the local Denny’s in Lakewood, WA.
Card magic was the catalyst that led to my interest in other areas of magic and, ultimately to my career as the Ace of Illusions! I’ve been a sponge ever since learning my first card trick and have devoted 30 years to perfecting everything from basic, simple card tricks that a child can learn quickly to complicated tricks involving close-up sleight-of-hand. Presently, I very much enjoy using a deck of cards to perform feats of mentalism.
I’ve always enjoyed performing tricks with cards designed and branded specifically for me. I love having a spectator choose a card as I perform a mindblowing trick and then give them the card as a souvenir. It makes a great memento for the audience member, and since it includes my name and logo, a valuable marketing tool!
Over three decades, I’ve purchased thousands of decks for practicing and performances. I suppose it’s one of my oldest tricks: Making cards appear while making my money disappear! Over time, I’ve purchased customized cards from numerous printing companies and learned many lessons along the way.
My First Print
Like with any printing project (invitations, brochures, etc.), the higher the quantity ordered, the lower the cost per unit. Some printing companies require a minimum quantity. This created a challenge for me early in my career, as I was seeking to order 200 decks for my first order. Many of the larger companies, such as the United States Playing Card Company, have minimum purchase requirements of 1500 to 2500 decks. Luckily, I found a printing company (Kardwell International) that would print my preferred quantity. My initial order was printed in black and white only, as the cost increases with each additional color. Kardwell’s quality was short of what I desired, and I found the deck boxes less appealing. However, it was within my budget, and I made due at the time.
My Second Print
After about a year, I used the last deck of cards from the initial order and decided to place another order for 200. This time, I decided to update my design and include red to match the color of my logo. The new batch was much closer to what I wanted, but I still wasn’t fully satisfied. The card finish was rough and difficult to manipulate as a professional. I was forced to switch to a separate non-branded deck for more challenging manipulations.
My Third Print – The Goldilocks Moment!
Finally, I was determined to get it right and selected the United States Playing Card Company to print my custom playing cards. I ordered and received a pallet shipment of nearly 3,000 decks of Nate Jester, Ace of Illusions playing cards. The USPCC was the cream of the crop in my mind, and did they deliver!
I was able to choose an air cushion finish with crushed stock. And as an important detail for a magician, they also allowed me to use the traditional USPCC pips so the faces would match a traditional deck of bicycle playing cards.
My graphic designer custom designed the ace of spades, two jokers, two advertisement cards, and even the box! Each deck (56 cards total) was housed in a cellophane package to protect it from moisture and degradation. I was even able to have them printed in my specific sequence! Because of the large order, my per-deck printing cost was a quarter of what it was with Kardwell. It has been two years since my order, and I’m still very happy with the decks. I expect this order to last about 10 years.
Whether you’re a seasoned magician, just getting started with card tricks, or enjoy hosting card games with friends, you’ll love having your own customized and branded playing cards!