CMYK Cards Let You Play Texas Hold ‘Em With Color

For the graphic designer-turned-card sharp, prepare to drool.

Forget about playing the A (ace), the J (jack), the Q (queen) or the K (king). Consider playing the C (cyan), the M (magenta), the Y (yellow), or the K (key, or black) instead, with this gorgeously colorful set of CMYK Playing Cards, now on Kickstarter.


This set of playing cards was designed by U.K. design team Hundred Million. The studio’s genius idea? Replace the four suits of a standard deck of playing cards with the four inks of the subtractive color model used in printing.

In the CMYK set, each card from Ace to 10 is a semi-tone of cyan, magenta, yellow, or black, each 10% deeper than the last card in the set. This effectively means that you can color code the numeric value of any card, just by looking at it. Face cards, on the other hand, are a solid chromatic tone.

“One of our biggest obstacles (as always in a project like this) was logic!” writes Hundred Million about their design. “Though the cards function just the same as a normal deck, we were concerned that some of the lower opacities in the Yellow suit in particular could be difficult to read.”

The designers say that they experimented with the print–using a black stroke around the numbers, drop shadows, patterns–but “they all looked upsetting, and went against the purity of the point. In the end we decided to let the whole flavor of the 20% opacities speak for the card, rather than just the number in the corner.”

Lest you worry that this would upset Vegas odds in Texas Hold ‘Em, the backs of these cards all feature an attractive but uniform design, preventing those with perfect color vision from counting cards based upon hue.

First designed back in 2012, the CMYK playing cards began as a publicity stunt to garner attention for their studio. Two years later, and Hundred Millions is trying to fund a full production run, with each card printed on German black-core paper with a genuine card linen finish and a matte laminated card tuck box.


With almost a month left to raise their £3,000 (around $5,000) Kickstarter goal, the CMYK playing card set has already been fully funded. You can pre-order a set now starting around £9, or about $15.

To see more of Hundred Million’s fantastic design work, check out the studio’s official site here.