How To Design Your Own Playing Cards

Thanks to lockdown, a deck of playing cards is one the trendiest birthday presents. Designing your own customized playing cards to sell online can be a profitable way to use your creativity.

Sell Your Personalised Playing Card Designs

Our custom print runs allow you to advertise single packs or multiple deck designs. This gives you the opportunity to sell custom decks to individuals or branded playing cards to businesses. You can even make individual packs of photo printed personalised playing cards to sell as special gifts. When printing playing cards, high quality card stock is important. Anything less than 350gsm card will feel too thin and will get bent easily.

This article will show you:

  • 4 steps to designing your own playing cards
  • 4 design tips
  • 4 ways to maximise sales


But first, it’s important to understand how to select the right card stock and the correct dimensions.


How To Choose Your Playing Card Size

Before starting your designs, you need to choose the appropriate card sizes for their intended purpose. Typically, decks are different sizes depending on their use. For example, if you were to design your own tarot cards, the decks are usually 70mm x 121mm. They are larger than standard playing cards to show off the intricate design details.

Playing Card Sizes

A standard deck size is 64mm X 89mm (2.5 inches by 3.5 inches). Most decks are typically this size and it has become known as the standard size for playing cards. Therefore, it’s the best choice for playing cards, unless you are selling them for a specific card game.

Bridge Size Playing Cards

Decks of cards for bridge are usually 57mm x 89mm (2.25 inches by 3.5 inches). This smaller card size makes it easier to play bridge when you need to hold 13 cards at once.   

Poker Card Printing

Poker cards are normally 63.5mm x 88.8mm. That’s 7.5mm wider than standard playing cards. This is because you usually only hold 5 cards, so they don’t overlap each other much.



Playing Card Thickness GSM

We are often asked ‘how thick are playing cards?’ and we usually say 350gsm paper. For a high quality print finish, it needs to be at least 350gsm to eliminate transparency.

We won’t print playing cards on 300gsm because you will see your designs on the other side. They will bend easily if you riffle shuffle them.

For premium cards, 400gsm card stock feels much higher quality because the paper feels thicker and stronger. We can also print onto 700gsm for double thickness or 800gsm colour core paper. Thicker cards are sometimes chosen for sturdy card stacking structures.

Designing Your Own Playing Card Deck In 4 Simple Steps

Once you know which size you want to design and print, you can start designing. Here are 4 steps to designing your deck, followed by 4 tips to maximise your playing card sales.  

1 Choose Your Design Software

Choose a design program such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. We recommend these because they have pre-drawn templates. These design programs allow you to design and format your playing card designs all in one place. Gimp is a good free alternative.

2 Create Your Template

Select the pre-drawn suits in the program. It gives you a good starting point for your own design.



3 Consider Uploading Photos

If you are making photo printed playing cards, you can import images into the design software. Importing photos of people is a great way to make personalised gifts.

There are many stock websites such as Shutterstock, iStock and Getty Images where you can download professional photography, like the photo of the lion above.


Stock websites make it easy to download professional p hotography of common holiday resorts and coastal images. Many people play cards while on holiday, so perhaps consider offering a tourist theme or coastal playing cards. If you are feeling more creative, think about using your own photography skills or take photos of your artwork and illustrations.


4 Design The Backs Of Your Cards

Scanning the back of a playing card you already own, might save you time. However, they look very generic, even if you add your customer’s initials in the middle. Instead, think about downloading images that you can drag and drop into your design.

There are lots of graphics of the four suits that are available for download. Images can be dragged and dropped into your design for the back of the card. It’s a simple technique but often looks very elegant.

4 Design Tips For Designing Successful Playing Cards

Aura Print is a specialist in custom printing with many years' of experience. We have a few tips and ideas for making your card designs look more luxurious.


1 High Quality Materials

Choosing 400gsm paper ensures that your cards won’t feel thin and flimsy. Noone wants that!

The most popular type of card stock is silk paper, however, we have a range of specialist paper types. Why not order a paper sample pack to see our colour core paper. It has a central coloured card which can be seen along the edge of your playing cards.

Luxurious Laminates That Protect Your Cards

We offer three types of laminates which will protect your card from dirt and damage. For a matte finish, we offer a matt laminate or soft touch laminate. Neither of them reflect the light, but the soft touch laminate has a smooth velvety finish.


Our gloss laminate is chosen to enhance the designs, it makes the colours more vivid. For an indepth comparison, read our article Laminated business cards types and benefits .




Rounded Corners

We recommend rounded corners for playing cards. It’s a traditional style and it makes your deck look more professional too.


Design And Print Your Playing Card Box

Did you know, we can print a die cut flyer to the shape of your box. We can also put creases and folds it for you.


4 Ways To Maximise Playing Card Sales


1 Design Branded Playing Cards To Sell To Businesses

Game stores and independent shops may stock your playing card designs. If you are selling to businesses, maybe consider offering a sale or return agreement.

Try generating sales by offering to make a custom playing card design specifically for their shop. For example, tattoo parlours often sell quirky products in their studio. You can offer poker cards with their branding and their shop address on the back. Skull and grunge designs are a particular hit with tattoo lovers. The face cards (king, queen and jack) could have tattoos.


2 Promotional Marketing Playing Cards

Designing corporate playing cards can be sold as brand merchandise. Companies are always looking for new ways to promote their products, especially at exhibitions. Visitors love corporate merchandise that are light enough to carry around an exhibition hall.

A corporate deck of cards can easily be given to customers at tradeshows. Higher value merchandise is proven to be kept for longer. Rather than pens, which are easily lost or discarded.


3 Make Score Cards For Board Game Lovers

Card and board game hobbies are becoming increasingly popular during lockdown. Creating score cards for board games can add more variety to your online shop. It will show your visitors that you can design many different card types.

We work with graphic designers who design score cards for board games like dungeons and dragons. Check out the cards above that we printed for Ramona for her Etsy shop AlderDoodle. Her design is a great way to keep a game of dungeons and dragons in order.


4 Promote Your Own Playing Card Deck Design Services

If you are printing lots of cards to sell, you can include your own branding on the cards. Include your website on the back of your card designs.

We can print loyalty cards and flyers to put in your orders that say ‘thank you for your order’. For more information, read our blog ‘ tips for using thank you for your order cards.


We Can Design And Print Playing Cards For You

Hopefully, you have some ideas on how you can design and print high quality customized playing cards in a few easy steps. If you prefer, we can take care of the design work for you. Our talented graphic designers can create customized playing card decks to suit your requirements. Simply visit our custom playing card printing page and click on ‘supply brief and we design.’