Coffee Break


February 2018 - March 2018

Coffee Break explores rhetorical symbolism through the process of developing designs for a new pack of playing cards. A new theme as well as a new classification system is proposed to replace the four suits in the standard deck (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs), the three classes (king, queen, jack) and the number cards. New and meaningful imagery is developed to maintain a common style while distinguishing between multiple different products.


Illustration, Print


Acrylic Ink, Photoshop


Working in groups, we must establish a distinct theme with different sub-themes to replace the classes and suits. Through meaningful discussions, the theme of different beverages students enjoy throughout the day  is developed. The different drinks that will replace the suits are tea, coffee, alcohol, and soda. The sub-categories that will replace the classes are morning, afternoon, and evening. This playing card set is themed after the variety of coffee drinks that can be enjoyed throughout the day.


Ancient View of Yatsuhashi in Mikawa Province by Katsushika Hokusai, 1834 [left], The Precious Stones by Edward Mucha, 1900 [center], Old Playing Cards from Leaping Frog Designs [right]

Research and Ideation

Coffee is a widely enjoyed beverage. It is also very versatile as it can be served in a variety of different drinks. The coffee culture is also well celebrated, in the past and in the present. It has deep historical meaning which holds years of authentic brewing methods and classic coffee culture. In the past, coffee was also an attractive item of trade in Southeastern Asia. To embrace the historical roots of coffee, the illustrations of the card designs are hand drawn to reflect a traditional and natural touch to the imagery. The method of colouring reflects the methods of woodblock printing, as there will be one layer of line-art followed by solid shades of colour. To ensure consistency, the designs will include a common background that will also encompass the design. In a similar situation, Edward Mucha's drawings utilizes a reoccurring and distinctive style to distinguish a series of drawings. The back of the cards is a complex design similar to old playing cards and Victorian wallpapers. Overall, the imagery of the coffee playing card set takes inspiration from old and classic forms of art to reflect coffee's long historical past.

Process Work