A Speculation


I am new here at Aeclectic, but have been reading and collecting cards for many years now, possibly too many? :( My question is as follows, and I just want some input/feedback before I approach The Corporation (U.S. Games): Would it be feasible for The Corporation to offer customized decks, i.e., deck of choice, back of choice, deck size of choice? Not a genuine custom deck, but with some choice other than ugly plaid backs and too-large cards? If the deck was priced commensurate with the cost of printing, what would such a price be? Would it be in the 100 dollar range (Dali Tarot) or even higher (some out-of-print decks)? How many of you would buy such a customized deck? Your comments greatly appreciated!



I am not in the card manufacturing business, but I am in the manufacturing business. Part of my job is to plan productions so that the lines run as efficiently as possible. A different back than all the rest means changing the line over to meet different specs. In my business that is about 4,000 dollars of lost money in about 2 hours time.

Now I suppose having a customized back would not require that many changes to a production line, but a customized card size would and probably would not fly. The plant would also probably have minimum run sizes where they would require a certain amount of the same deck be made per run. This means that a lot of other people would have to order the same exact deck as you.

All depends on how specific you would be. I could see them giving you a few choices, but nothing customized.

There are some deck authors here on the forum, I am sure they would be better able to answer this.



If I'm remembering right, I think the Illuminated Tarot offers a choice of different backs?

Personally, I'm not convinced that this is all that much of an advantage for most people. In most ways I'd rather just have one well-designed back that really fits with the deck, than be offered a choice of perhaps less well thought out versions. In theory I like the idea of customisation (in my days desgning products I was a big fan of letting people have plenty of choice) but for things like card backs and sizes in tarot decks? Not sure it would be all that attractive, and I agree that it would add a lot to the cost.

It would be interesting to hear what others think.

ps - maybe I've not understood what you mean and I'm being too simplistic about it? Please correct me if so.


Outside of the manufacturing end, there's also the storage of the different sizes and styles, as well as the order forms showing which decks in which alternate... I don't think the market for this type of request is large enough to make this feasable. The big tarot publishers are doing decks up enmasse for worldwide distribution, they want it simple and easy. Card sizes depend on paper size stock, so the layout uses all the paper most efficiently. Everything feeds through printers at fast speeds, having to stop and change inks/styles, as Mimer's said, isn't cost effective, the production runs are set up to run as fast and smooth as possible to get the jobs done, boxed and sent out.

There may be an easier way to get your customized deck--get a large number of tarot friends over, bringing their decks with them (ALL the decks). Each person scans in the cards you all like, into the computer, stick them on disks & go down to the local printer and have everyone's decks run off on card stock with whatever back image you all want. Come back, everyone have a party cutting out their decks from the card stock, and laminating everything, and viola! Your own custom deck. (Plus a party, lots of fun and laughing, and your own deck which should cost you far less than $100).


Not to put the kibosh on the party, HudsonGray, but when you start scanning in-print and copyrighted decks you're edging towards the infringement line. I don't expect that anyone is going to get too bent out of shape about it, unless of course someone posts the results of their customization on the web or ends up selling one of the decks they've produced this way. Then it becomes something that, if it's noticed, has to be gone after to protect the copyrights.

LeCorsair - the odds of getting any customization of a deck from one of the large companies is really slim. Aside from the production problems already mentioned, each new printing has to have its own bar codes, copyright statements, etc., etc. The time and paperwork needed for that is itself going to price any small print run out of the ballpark, as well as giving them headaches in things like inventory control.

This is one of those areas where the larger the company is, the less likely they are to be able to do a small customization run.


Oh, Well...

Well, I am crestfallen. I hope nobody minds, though, if I write an email to The Corporation and complain about their pedestrian card backs! :TDEV

Thanks for the replies, everyone! :)



Ah no, this is for personal use, all the decks have already been purchased so you're basically borrowing from everyone else & the re-compiled ones stay with the individuals, not for resale or anything. And not to be put up online either.

Le Corsair, go ahead and send the letter, the large companies don't hear all that much from their customer base so they do listen, you might even get feedback and a discount coupon out of it! Worth a shot. If enough people are requesting the same thing, they do think about things like these. They just have to figure if it's worth their while.

It might be hard getting Lo Scarabeo and Llewellyn and US Games all working together on this, but it's worth a shot. Send your letters, don't be crestfallen!


Agreed. Crestfallen is not necessary. The problem with most decks is they have to appeal to the lowest common denominator - and that means, for the most part, very pedestrian artwork. That doesn't mean the art departments have to like it, though, and if enough people write to gripe, it gives them a possible tool to work with for new decks, at least.


Hello Le_Corsair,

Another thread is going on on a close topic, a deck where you can choose each card (so nice to dream)
I thought you might be interested.


I personally don't mind the size as much, but the back, I do. I just got the Ator tarot, I love it, but when I saw the back of the cards, I almost cried. Just kidding, but I was dissapointed.
Again, I would be willing to pay much more money for a deck that I can customize, it would feel like it's MY deck!



Appealing to the lowest common denominator is well and good, BUT that horrible cross-hatched back! Ugh! Not appealing to ANYBODY that one ;-p

Heidi Aussie