Randy Butterfield

A Brief Intro:

For sometime now, the idea of interviewing deck designers has been swimming around in my head. I always admired the artists behind the decks of cards we (collectors/cardists/magicians) hold so dear. The cards themselves get a lot of praise and attention but the people behind the art are more often than not forgotten so easily. And most times we don’t even know them.

Everytime I get the chance to talk to card designers I am always filled with so much curiosity and that longing to know WHY they drew what they drew, why they conceptualized what they did , etc… So after much contemplating and much back and forth emails with a number of people we can finally get to know our deck designers!
So without further ado here is our very first post!

Meet The Designer From:


Randall James Butterfield
Designer of the ORNATES playing cards

Hey everyone, I just wanted to say how excited I am to publish the very first post for “MEET THE DESIGNER”.  In this exclusive interview, we get to see inside the mind of the talented designer of the new upcoming deck from MIDNIGHT CARDS COMPANY, Randy Butterfield!
in case you don’t know what the ORNATES are just click on this link in order to get a close look at the Ornates (in its early stages).
So Lets start on our interview shall we?
Behind.Krystle.Lane  asked: So Randy, when did you start designing cards? or just designing for that matter?
Randy Butterfield: The ORNATES are my first go at designing playing cards. I graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design at Central Michigan University back in 1995, so I’ve been in the print industry for a while now. I spent the first four years after graduation working as a Production Artist at a print shop in Toledo, Ohio. It was there that I learned invaluable techniques on building clean and print-ready files. After some bad personal experiences in Toledo, I took the plunge and moved to the San Francisco bay area.
I found a career job as a Designer / 3d Artist with the agency I’m still working for today, Motive Marketing. I met my wife in the bay area and almost 5 years ago we relocated to Indianapolis to start a family. I continue to work for Motive, only now I telecommute from home.

B.K.L.: Who/what inspired you to get into designing cards?
R.B.: I was introduced to Kickstarter last August, and the first project I saw was Adam Clarkston’s Revision 1 Deck. I loved the creativity and just the whole idea of designing a custom deck of playing cards! I was hooked and starting researching non-stop online for more custom decks. It was quite addictive.

BKL: I know most people would say their first but I’m still going to ask anyway. Among those you have designed, which one is your favorite?
RB: The only difference with my two decks are the backs, but I would have to say I prefer the Sapphire blue back. I usually like red over blue but in this instance my choice is the blue paired with the gold.

BKL: Among all the custom decks out on the market today, which ones do you like best?
RB: Some of my favorite decks include the Revision 1, Americana, Vaudeville, Tendril, Seasons, Brimstone, Vortex and Artifice Decks. I lean more towards the fully custom cards.

What qualities do you prefer when it comes to a custom deck of playing cards?
RB: As long as the theme is implemented nicely, I’m a fan of almost any style. I think I have a tendency to prefer designs that are colorful and heavy in fine details. A good example is the Vaudeville Deck. The details in every single element are simply amazing!

BKLWhat aspect of design do you give the highest priority to?
R.B: I care most about the look. If something is looking cool, I keep going in that direction.

KL: What programs do you use for your projects often?
RB: The 3 main programs I use are Photoshop, Freehand (I can’t stand Illustrator!) and Lightwave 3D.

BKL: What is the most useful tool/feature/technique do you use often in your designs?

RB: For the ORNATE decks I used a lot of Layer Styles to get the metallic look for the borders and almost all of the other elements. The Jokers are 3D with some fine details added later in Photoshop

BKL: What Design-related book do you recommend reading?

RB: I have an Art History major so I lean towards more CG Art books over Design books in general. Each edition of Exposé (Ballistic Publishing) is always filled with beautiful CG illustrations.

BKL: What design magazine do you read on a daily/weekly basis?

RB: I have subscriptions to design magazines HOW and PRINT and peruse online forums like CGTalk.com.

BKL: How did designing playing cards affect your life?
RB: The biggest difference has been making my life a lot busier, especially at night. I wouldn’t change a thing as it’s introduced me to this wonderful word of collectors, magicians and card flourishers!

BKL: Do you have any messages, tips, advice to aspiring custom deck designers out there?
RB: One thing I notice on the forums is a lot of people with no design experience wanting to jump right and create a fully custom deck of playing cards. My suggestion would be to study some design technique and/or take some design or art classes at a local college before embarking on such an ambitious project. Another suggestion would be to find a partner with design experience to help turn your ideas into a reality♠.
So there you have it folks! If you have other questions or other things you’d like to know more on Randy, feel free to ask them in the comments below or CONTACT US okay? So stay tuned for more exclusive interviews with your favorite UPCOMING deck designers.  Oh and if there is anyone you’d like for BKL to interview leave us a message.
Lara Krystle “Lane” Novales

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