The Art of Packaging: Being Practical vs Going Extravagant

Attic Cartomancy - Original Packaging for The Sepia Stains Tarot

I wrote this entry on the practical side of creating packaging for a deck. It offers a few suggestions on what you should consider as far as materials, costs and miscellaneous details are concerned. It’s the checklist I use when packaging an open edition deck. I get all crazy when it comes to the limited editions, but I try to keep my wits about me when it comes to the decks openly sold. I say try.

If I had my way all my decks would come in fabulous containers where you opened them up to find the deck lovingly wrapped in rich materials. Just getting to the deck would be like opening up the most gloriously gift wrapped birthday present. The companion book would be full color and contain not just the details about the cards, but also a serious of related trivia, art, and general beautiful page clutter. All of this would come within another large package of beautiful make and design. Yes, I want to be the fairy tarot godmother who touches her magic wand to a deck and a Cinderella scene explodes around it. I do start out with that type of scenario in mind. Fortunately for me I’ve developed a reflex that smacks me in the head in those times and screams slow your roll and edit woman!

Editing is very important. Toning down of my packaging comes after that and my open editions become more practical and affordable for my potential customers. I’ve learned to temper some of that enthusiasm by keeping one side attractive but simple and allowing the other side to be more over the top. Open edition practical, limited edition more extravagant. Sometimes I try and meld the two by offering a –not limited edition– but limited time sale on more unique packaging for a deck. I do this mostly for The Isidore Tarot. I have an autumn edition that is available each autumn. I have the Devil is in the Details special edition I created special for some of my goth-centric friends. This is my happy medium and the deck is popular enough for me to do this.

Attic Cartomancy - One of the many different first packaging attempts for the Black Ibis Tarot

Ultimately the most important thing is the deck of cards. Packaging is fine but it means little if the deck itself doesn’t hit well with people. I’ve had a few experiences with buying a tarot deck that came packaged with all the bells and whistles only to find the deck itself felt like it was printed on cheap cardboard. Having gone through the whole nerve-racking process of card printing I know the printing part can be difficult, so I don’t fault the deck maker so much for that. It’s still disappointing though. I don’t want to disappoint so my first focus is the deck.

Of course, with all that said, there are a few exceptions to my personal rules. Deck popularity plays a lot into things. I have two versions of The Isidore Tarot – full packaging and just the deck. Just the deck is exactly that. The deck comes in a box and I include a organza draw string bag for those who prefer a bag over the box. I keep it affordable and put it one sale often. The fully packaged deck is stored in an organza drawstring bag within a labeled tin. I put flower petals in the tin because I just think it’s a nice touch to the packaging, not to mention I love my flower petal drawers I have as a result of that extra. It comes with a companion book. It’s an extremely popular deck and my baby so I like keeping it in nice clothes, so to speak. I want to make it available to everyone while still retaining that special packaging that doesn’t get too outrageous cost-wise.

This entry should be called how to avoid packaging work. I have my mini tarots sitting in front of me and they’re naked. I feel like I should put a blanket over them so they don’t catch cold! This one is done. I’m still working on packaging for the Halloween mini and the Black Ibis mini. I’m leaning towards small tins though. I love the idea of these tiny cards being in an equally tiny tin. Something I can tuck away in my owl bag and take with me. With that thought, I should be back to my work and start price checking small tins! 😉