Beaver County Times – 28 Dic 1965
Did you know, for example, that for the last 80 years the most popular design on the back of a card features Cupid on a bicycle? The design is a favorite of poker players. They have refused to let the design be changed, according to Ed Bork, a bridge player who is with U.S. Playing Card Co. maker of the most cards worldwide.
Bridge players for the past 30 years have found happiness and security by clinging to cards with the design of a Persian rug on the backs. Bork, who has a hand in deciding about the designs on card backs, said the most popular of the designs, after the bicycle Cupid and Persian rug, are those featuring dogs, cats, floral motifs and marine scenes.
What lays an egg every time with the designers of card backs: Food. «We don’t know why,» Bork said, «but bowls of fruit or pretty apples just don’t go over with card players.»
Don’t Know Why
What else doesn’t go over: Cards with pictures of children. Again, the card makers don’t know why. Abstract art doesn’t go over too well either. Most of the designs that succeed and there are nearly 100 new ones each year are very specific in design, many featuring exacting geometric patterns.
«Perhaps that is because the rules of card games are so exacting,» Bork said. The shape of cards has remained pretty much the standard through the years—size easily handled and easily shuffled. For a time, a round card was marketed. A deck was almost impossible to shuffle. Bork said cards kept slipping out and roiling across the table or floor. A new shape, recently introduced, imitates the silhouette of a pint-sized barrel. «They’re easy to shuffle,» Bork said, «and you can hold a handful of them in a tighter grasp than you can with regular cards. From every indication, this shape seems likely to succeed with the avant garde types.»
Women, incidentally, prefer fancy designs on the backs of their cards, They like geometries and artistic scenes. Men, according to Bork prefer the cards with the cupid on a bicycle. Food and children aren’t the only forbidden things on the list for card designers. What else is nixed: Humor.
«Card players like their humor straight and not mixed in the game,» Bork said. One thing that’s in on the contemporary art scene and dealt out of card designs: Pop art. This is black lines on white and in all sorts of odd shaped circles and rectangles looking like a many angled maze blown up from a design etched on the head of a pin.
The longer one looks at pop art the longer one senses that it is squirming – almost like a sea in a storm and badly enough to produce nausea or dizziness. «Pop art is out.» Bork said, «because card players can’t afford to have an upset stomach or a dizzy spell while the game is going on.»