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© 2019 Pratika Appaiah


A card deck worth keeping on your coffee table

my role:  concept/ideation   |   design  |   illustration  |  marketing

a passion project

Travel and games help us to break away from the everyday routine. To feel more open and creative. But at home most cards sit unused and forgotten, stuffed into dusty drawers and suitcases. That's why I wanted to create a deck worth keeping on your coffee table.

The Rani card deck is a story of culture and connection. It blends my passions for travel and design into a product that brings people together. It's the kind of deck that makes you want to play cards.


I created Rani with two ideas in mind




Rani combines the rich details of traditional Indian patterns, textiles, and jewelry with a modern style to make a fun, clean new design. Good design is essential. I wanted to make Rani as great to look at as it is to play with.

I drew inspiration from my Indian culture because it’s colorful, diverse, and playful. Each card has layered patterns and details that give you something new to appreciate every time you play.



A “cool” deck is useless if the cards stick, wrinkle, warp or fall apart. That’s why the Rani deck was produced by the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), the same company that makes BICYCLE® and BEE® brand card decks. USPCC has been making cards for 150 years. That’s older than a unified Germany. So, it’s safe to say they know a thing or two. 

The Rani deck features: 

  • Vibrant, original card designs and tuck box 

  • Classic Grade cardstock 

  • Embossed finish for comfort and durability

The design process

It all started with a queen. I began designing her as a simple block printing exercise.  But she wasn't satisfied. She wanted more detail. 

So I turned her into an illustration. I filled out her rich garments. But she still wasn’t satisfied. It turns out she had a whole story to tell me. Over the course of a year, I continued to find inspiration and expand the project. I worked to make the full deck a reality. The queen kept pushing me, telling me it could be more, it could be better.

My favorite part of the design was also my biggest challenge: illustrating each character to mimic the shape of the suit they represent. I really enjoyed the constant push and pull to find the balance between subtle and literal.

Rani, the Muse

The word Rani means queen in nearly every Indian language. I chose to name the deck Rani because she was the muse and taskmaster behind the entire project.


With the help of Kickstarter and many backers,

Rani was successfully produced last summer.

The Team:

Curtis Winiesdorffer  Role: Copywriting and filming for Kickstarter campaign

Natalie Kress   Role: Photographer for campaign and ongoing social media