Atelier playing cards (image 003)

Australia-born user interface designer Robert Padbury was employed by Apple for nearly three years. In his Senior UI Designer role with the company, Padbury was helping create the visuals for a range of consumer and pro applications for the Mac and iOS.

Prior to joining Apple, he worked with numerous startups including Stipple, Cooliris, Gaia Interactive, Tapulous, DoubleTwist and more.

Now self-employed, Padbury is providing creative services like software design, identity design and design strategy for clients such as Uber, Forage and Stipple. His latest project involves applying Apple’s principles of clean and striking design to such ordinary objects as a deck of cards…

His $19 playing-card project dubbed the Atelier in just two days exceeded his goal of raising $7,500 on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The card deck, seen top of post, was inspired by the opening credits of the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale.

The design oozes Apple simplicity.

Atelier playing cards (image 004)Atelier playing cards (image 005)

The back of each card features stylish hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds arranged in a circle, with the face showing the number and suit on two corners. Playing cards typically have the number and suit in all four corners so Padbury’s typography-centric design leaves an expanse of blank space in the middle.

He tells Bloomberg:

The most important part is the bit in the corner because that’s what you see when you’re holding the cards. So you end up with this really beautiful, clean design.

Playing cards have been around for hundreds of years. I wanted to approach it as though there was no history.

More from the Kickstarter page:

With the face cards reduced to a simple icon, I wanted to do the same to the numeral cards. I came up with a single shape that could represent the value and suit of the card. By placing the suit in a simple geometric shape, you could effectively create an identity for each card.

His Apple thinking extends to the beautiful packaging, too!

Atelier playing cards (image 001)

The Atelier cards impressed Apple pundit John Gruber.

“I say we all pile on and make this project a big hit,” remarked Gruber on his Daring Fireball blog.

The promo clip on Kickstarter is reminiscent of Apple’s promotional videos.

“I’m really excited to bring this project to life, and I think you’ll find the end results will be pretty incredible,” he enthuses in the video.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Padbury had worked at Apple between February 2011 and September 2013. He was on the iLife Design team where he helped create icons and user interfaces for iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband for Mac and iOS.

He also contributed content to Final Cut Pro X and designed the app and document icons for Logic Pro X and Logic Remote.

  • RarestName


  • Gerardo Castro

    Its just a deck of cards without the design in the middle…

    • VitoM

      no sh.t…

      • Gerardo Castro

        You agreeing with me or are you being an asshole?

      • VitoM

        Да пошёл ты…

      • RarestName

        Жрать говно и умереть

      • John Sklikas

        Nice one mate I approve 😀

      • RarestName

        tbh I don’t know Russian but he’s being rude.

      • John Sklikas

        It’s an English blog. Here FYI

      • VitoM

        Internet isn’t English only…

      • RarestName

        The blog posts are in English, the writers speak in English, the comments are in English, and the podcasts are in English. So it makes sense to comment in English.

      • VitoM

        Ye, ye, ye…

      • John Sklikas

        LOL so this blog = The entire internet. Come on, this was ridiculous, you were writing in English and swore in your language just to get away with it. I could do the same, with my own language, Greek, but I’m not doing this. You can officially say to yourself “I FAILED! Twice!” You should be proud of yourself man…

      • VitoM

        You’re Greek? That’s why the Greece failed.
        BTW, Russian is not my language.

      • John Sklikas

        I never said they were Russian, why do you make stuff up? 😛 The software saw that the language is Byelorussian. Oh and FYI, Greece is in the markets now and has a positive profit? So who exactly failed?

      • VitoM

        Software? Ah, ok than…

      • John Sklikas

        So if it is not Byelorussian what is it?

      • VitoM


      • John Sklikas

        You just said”Russian is not my language” 😛

  • Arsanny Lintang

    $700 off contract

  • DanielB

    Is this a joke? I swear that video looks like a spoof…

    • neez

      Came here to se if someone would notice that. I mean, really? REALLY? I love Apple products and minimalist design. But you’ve got to be kidding me!

  • -___-

    Is this for real. Do people really buy into this bs? I mean really? It’s just a basic deck without the design. When he was saying how the icons are some geometric bla bla bla I wanted to laugh. I need to jump on this bandwagon that makes suckers give me money for literally doing nothing special. I can make this deck in photoshop so easy. Not even kidding.

    • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

      I think it looks beautiful. I’ve played with many playing cards. I would love to collect this edition.

      • Agru

        Shut up you’re a dog 🙂

      • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

        ruff ruff

      • DogeCoin


    • neez

      Count me on! I mean, come on… This got to be a joke!

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Yeah i understand your point, but to me it looks beautiful and will be a nice piece in my little collection. It is not like $200 so i buy it. We could discuss about non-sense modern art that costs millions of dollars. But as i said the design is clever and it is not expensive. If you can do this in photoshop you should have did it before him. We should argue if you would be able to create the same design without seeing this. Overall it should be the design you are paying and caring for not the designer. But we can not deny the fact that even though it is not hard to copy this design, it needs talent to create it.

  • Tony

    I myself have amassed a fairly large collection of playing cards. I love the feel of them and the designs. This design will be one that a lot of collectors will enjoy having.

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Yess! Exactly! I find it very very beautiful

  • JerseyD

    And the sheeple will suck this up

  • jawadahsen

    A whole new level of stupidity

  • Agru

    You can’t be serious IDB. Please tell me it’s a joke

  • QuarterSwede

    And if you’re left handed and hold the deck backwards you see absolutely nothing. Brilliant design!

  • Matthew Cleveland

    Totally groundbreaking. I hope he didn’t strain himself making this design. It was obviously super difficult to delete the middle design.

    • Umut Bilgiç

      If it was easy, why didnt anybody did it before him? He thought diffrently which makes this special. Simple does not necessarily mean easy/stupid

      • Matthew Cleveland

        No one did it before him because everyone knows how incredibly pointless it is.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        Ooh come on you are just making word-games right now. If he knows that there are people that find such design architecture beautiful it is not really pointless of him creating the design.

  • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

    I bought it

  • @sexyhamthing

    ohhh a nice thin font…. amazing -_-

  • oralarts

    This should have been posted on 1 April.

  • These cards look fantastic! As an iPhone user – I also have an HTC One M7 so don’t hate me! – the subtle change with font and design is enough for me to warrant a purchase in the future. If I may digress, a lot of people won’t like it because the change is overall indistinguishable and I don’t blame them.

  • Conanap

    This deck better be less than 10 dollars.