Life Playing Cards

Life Playing Cards

Life Playing Cards
Project Type

Print, Illustration


The project required creating a product inspired by Chapter 6 of Keith Richards’ memoir titled Life. The focus of the assignment could be an observation from the reading that included Richards’ usage of language or his references to drugs and rock culture.

I was intrigued by the ways Richards’ described his bandmates and old friends throughout his story and the roles they each played as characters in a narrative from his perspective. I noticed Richards’ would often use language that exposed two sides to a character. He also gave them certain roles in his story without directly stating what these roles were. Focusing on both these details I chose to create playing cards which provided the opportunity to show the dualities of the characters and the roles they played. I also intended to expose what was happening behind the scenes during the prime of the Rolling Stones career though the opposing orientations of the cards.

Process and Development

Taking quotes from the book I developed a mind map to evaluate the roles and dualities of the characters. I also looked to the book for inspiration on possible illustrations for the numbered and ace cards.

After mind mapping I began creating pencil sketches of the four main characters, Anita Pallenberg, Brian Jones, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Throughout this process I considered their clothes and appearance in photographs.

Card Deck Illustrations

The final cards feature symbols of importance in Chapter 6 of Life along with touchpoints that are notable from Richards’ overall life. These representations include a Tibetan skull, his blue Bentley, a Mars candy bar, his Fender Telecaster guitar and, of course, drugs. The cards on the right are the final illustrations of Keiths’ and Anita’s cards as well as the ace card and the back design.

Cards Photo
Cards Photo
Packaging Design

The design of the playing card box was inspired by Richards’ depiction of what it was like for him under the influence in which he described seeing birds flying through the air and feeling as if he could also fly.

Packaging Photo