Category: Technology



While conversation-starter games are not new, Question Connection is unlike any other: It was created for kids by a kid.

Rising freshman at Harvard College and creator of Question Connection, Hannah Frazer, wonders how different middle school would have been if she’d had a safe way to meet and connect with her peers. And while she can’t alter past experiences, she can do the next best thing: change the social narrative for everyone else.

“I was the girl who loved to talk but needed a way to start the conversation.” –Hannah Frazer, founder of Question Connection

This non-invasive, supportive style of facilitating conversation, helps promote inclusion, foster relationships and build genuine connections in the classroom.

Growing up in a diverse, bilingual community, Hannah and so many of her classmates were unsure how to expand beyond their inner circle. Deep-leveled conversations, and even facilitating a surface-based one, felt out of reach. So, Hannah decided to create a practical and fun game that would ultimately redefine the nature of connections.

In this exclusive Shuffled Ink Card Story, game designer Hannah Frazer shares how an independent study transformed into a tangible product that cultivates empathy worldwide.


From Independent Study to Tangible Solution

Young adults like Hannah, who have spent the better half of their lives navigating the world through a digital lens often feel more comfortable communicating via a screen than face-to-face.

Hannah says that the constant presence of technology and social media only complicated her social challenges. This is one of the reasons why she decided to tackle such issues through a year-long independent study project.

Headed by her AP Psychology teacher, Hannah, a junior at the time, worked alongside and learned from other teachers, students, graphic designers and Shuffled Ink manufacturing to bring this idea to fruition. After starting a GoFundMe page for the card game, she covered the cost of production for the first two groups of cards (English and Spanish).

Soon enough, Hannah was actively introducing the conversation-starter game into classrooms, national organizations and other programs.

“I am always incredibly proud to be able to share this game with students and other young people,” Hannah said. “I love seeing the differences in kids’ body language and facial expressions before and after they connect with their peers.”

Join a group, grab a deck and start connecting! Info on classroom visits.

Hannah’s Advice on How to Design a Card Game

Step 1: Developing a card game that tackles social challenges takes a lot of research, time and effort. So, be patient!

Step 2: Coming up with good ideas and gaining support is not a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean you should fold and give up. It will all be worth it when you see the positive impact that your card game provides.

Step 3: Play it forward, relax and have fun!

Play it Forward!

Hannah says that no one should ever be excluded from starting a conversation. This is why all deck proceeds go toward supplying Question Connection to under-resourced communities.

“In today’s world, there has been a huge rise in hate crimes, antisemitism, racism,” she said. “A conversation can make a world of difference when it comes to educating oneself about people from different backgrounds.”

Become a Question Connection Student Ambassador

Question Connection strives to put an end to social divisions and you can, too! Send a message to if you or anyone you know is interested in getting involved!

Hannah Frazer’s Question Connection has also been mentioned in:

Chicago Tribune

Sheridan Road Magazine

Better Chicago Magazine

JUF News

25 Under 25 Young Entrepreneur’s Magazine (p. 20)

Diller Tikkun Olam Award

Springboard Chicago Blog

If we manufactured your card project and you would like us to share your Card Story on our blog, feel free to connect with our Marketing Team here.



Ever wonder how your favorite playing card decks are printed? The 20-second video below highlights one of the first steps in Shuffled Ink’s production process: printing the cards.


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Pretty cool, right? Well, technology certainly makes the production process appear effortless, and as you’re most likely aware, printing playing cards looked astronomically different back in the day.

Types of Printing

Woodblock Printing

Replace Xerox machines with blocks of wood and you’ll get Woodblock Printing. If it’s difficult to imagine creating playing cards with sharp tools and wood, then check out this helpful article: How to Make Your Own Woodblock Print Like the Japanese Masters by writer and art historian Jessica Stewart. Through step-by-step details, she even explains how to transfer any artwork and/or image onto the wooden surface.


Whether used to create a deck of cards or place images inside of a book, China, as well as Central and East Asia, pioneered woodblock printing.

Countries well-versed in Xylography, or the art of printing from carved wood, often transported playing cards to Europe. But once paper became available during the 15th century, European manufacturers were able to print decks domestically using the wood blocking technique.

The Technique

Relief printing is the process of cutting or etching with a stencil onto the wooden surface so all that remains is the printed design.

Woodblock Playing Cards: Photo from a WOPC article

Copperplate Printing

This innovative printing method began around the 15th century. It is a form of intaglio printing, where impressions and designs are pressed into copperplates either through engraving (direct intaglio) or acid etching (indirect intaglio).

Master E.S., also known as Master of the Playing Cards, developed this process of playing card printing.

The Queen of Flowers by Master of the Playing Cards

Attributed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Toward the end of the 18th century, Lithography (Latin – litho: stone; graph: write) was invented in Germany by Alois Senefelder. Many artists, as well as playing card creators, adopted this water-and-oil-based technique. Not only did it revolutionize colored impressions through chromolithographs but also introduced a cheaper printing method through limestone rather than copper.


So, what did lithography printing look like? The card’s design was etched onto limestone using oil. The ink was then applied, sinking into the design area and then transferred onto paper for production. Litho printing never truly went out of style. It adapted as technology advanced.

“El Barco” Playing Cards Created Through Chromolithograph

Offset Lithography

Also known as offset printing, this modern litho process uses rubber rollers to transfer images from plate to paper. As opposed to hand-drawn designs, offset uses a machine to create the image.

Digital Printing

We use a Xerox digital printer to produce your custom projects like playing cards and games, tarot and oracle as well as flashcards. The first digital printers arrived in the early 1990s and today they reign quite popular in the printing industry.

Right now, it may seem like we have reached or surpassed the height of playing card printing, but this is only the beginning. Whether the future will enhance our modern printing machine or invent something entirely new, Shuffled Ink looks forward to many more years manufacturing your awesome personalized card products!

Xerox Printing Machine at Shuffled Ink

How We Manufacture Playing Cards

Shuffled Ink is a multigenerational family business with an unwavering, decades-old mission: to provide an unparalleled experience in customer service and product quality to ensure that all clients’ card visions meet reality.

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CUSTOM CARDS: DESIGN WITH A PURPOSE Our clients’ custom cards serve a unique and clear purpose. They create decks to raise awareness and educate, market their artwork, celebrate milestones and so on. With Shuffled Ink, the creative playing field is vast because there isn’t a cap on personalization options. So, if you’re looking to create a deck of cards with a distinct purpose, then feel free to follow our 4-step design guide. In this article, you’ll find helpful suggestions and strategies as well as examples of our clients’ custom card products.

1. The Purpose

Staying ahead of the game means constantly implementing new initiatives. If you’re a professional seeking to promote and market your brand or logo, an artist looking to use tarot cards as a canvas, or a card game designer working to crush your Kickstarter goal, then Shuffled Ink is best suited to bring your vision to reality. So, let’s run through the basics. Marketing 101
  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What is the message/purpose?
  3. How will you promote this campaign?
All three steps are extremely critical, especially if you’re designing custom cards for marketing, branding, promoting, client gifts, sales leads, trade shows, etc. It’s essential to nail down each of these steps, for example, you can easily craft an excellent message but misinterpret who the target audience is.

2. Choose Your Custom Product

We are positive that our dedicated service and graphics team will suit your needs and help cultivate your message. One of the fantastic parts about creating with us is that any product you choose is entirely customizable, so you make the rules. While Shuffled Ink provides the blank canvas, you are the artist — paint anything you like and in any color(s). Here are our products:

Playing Cards

We have a variety of clients with bold visions for their playing card decks. Here are some messages that are often pursued:
  1. Bringing Awareness: Speak to others through art. Many creators use playing cards to bring awareness to various subjects like saving endangered species and our ecosystems, portraying history, etc.
  2. Promoting Brand/Company: Our clients also choose to print their company emblem, website and/or social media links on their deck of playing cards. This may seem like a simple act, but the impact is tremendous. Now, every single person who interacts with your playing card deck will have access to your supplementary content.
  3. Merchandise: Selling or handing out company merch is a fantastic way to manifest your message into clients’ minds.
EXAMPLES: These illustrations by Give Me a Brief, raise awareness for our planet’s most endangered species.
This deck was printed for both gaming purposes and to raise awareness about the Spotted Lanternfly invading our ecosystem.

Astrodog Media is a Video Production Agency known for crafting high-quality videos and other digital media for businesses, agencies, and brands. The custom faces include different types of dogs floating in space and the backs show the logo.

The SD Office of Highway Safety designed custom playing cards to emphasize the importance of safe driving. Their message is clear: Beat Death. Don’t Cheat it. Instead of including tips and strategies, they let the artwork do all the talking. Each face card includes a reaper-like creature to instill the lurking reality that if you drive recklessly, death may be around the corner.

Flash Cards

If your purpose relates to teaching or training a certain skill, then flash cards are the route to go. Our endless custom options are perfect for educational cards since every person has a different way of teaching and learning. Basically, you dream it, we print it!
  1. Train Employees: Creating PowerPoint presentations are not always an effective route for some business settings. These training flash cards encourage time management, communication skills, risk management, etc. It also reiterates the expectations that employers have for their employees and vice versa.
  2. Teach Interview Skills: It’s never too early or late to start prepping for an interview, which is why there will always be a consumer for this custom card product. Whether it’s their very first one or their hundredth, it’s important to cultivate how they are going to present themselves to a potential employer. Putting one’s best foot forward means that they aren’t reading off a script and studying the basic interview talking points. Rather, they are prepared for the most difficult questions.
  3. Learn a Language: Our clients are constantly setting the bar to new heights. An age-old skill like learning a new language can be interactive and exciting when you implement both visual and auditory elements. Our suggestion is to set your purpose apart from all others. Go against the grain and introduce a new way to learn a language. Consumers are always looking to try new things and if they like what they experience, then word will spread, and you’ll gain more clients.
EXAMPLES: These flash cards are for training purposes in a work environment.
This ultimate Interview Survival Kit includes over 50 tips & strategies to help secure your dream job.
These audio-enhanced flash cards, known as Linguacious are geared toward children. An image of the designated word is displayed with a QR code.  Upon scanning the code with your phone, you will hear the pronunciation of the word in the targeted language.  Here is a visual of the fronts- and backs- of these game-based vocabulary flash cards.

Card Games/Board Games

The overall purpose of card and board games is to entertain, but there’s obviously more to it than just that. If you’re looking to create a custom card game, the message should be locked down and clearly stated. A card game has a lot of different moving parts before it’s printed.
  1. Identify the theme: Having a distinct, unique and fun game will help set yourself apart from other game makers. Right now, you probably have an idea of what the game will be about. For example, will it feature zombies, robots and aliens? Or does it follow a question/answer format (similar to Cards Against Humanity)?
  2. Establish the Rules: This is the fun part! You are the all-knowing creator who is bringing this game to life. But make sure to keep your game’s purpose in mind at all times. You don’t want to stray away from the designated message you’re trying to relay.
  3. Graphic Design & Game Pieces: Customize your game to your heart’s content, including but not limited to the card size, card stock, number of cards, spinners and dice, booklets, instructions and game tokens.
“Some write books to be remembered. Long after you are gone, you will be remembered for the game you have made. So pour your heart out and make a great game…” True Frenemies Board Game Creator, Derek White.
Elephant in the Room Card Game. Players use the white cards to disclose whether they personally agree or disagree with the statement or not.

Tarot & Oracle Cards

If you’re passionate about sharing your knowledge and insight through tarot and oracle cards, let our team print your custom designs. Our clients use tarot to reimagine the world. These pieces are not only eye-catching but the meanings behind each one are equally enticing.
  1. Reinvent: Tarot has an extensive amount of history. Some clients enjoy reproducing decks that are decades old. This allows new tarot designers to reflect on the past and remember where the art form originated.
  2. Readings: Tarot and oracle readings can become quite deep and personal, so consider adding your own original designs to the deck.
  3. Market Art: If your art fits well in the spiritual realm, market using tarot or oracle cards. These decks include however many cards you desire, which allows for an endless supply of art concepts to dabble in.
Nicolas Conver’s 1760 tarot deck was faithfully reproduced by one of our clients for the purpose of restoring history. The deck is also available for purchase.
Make the mundane magical with custom oracle cards. This deck holds 36 allegorical messages to inspire your inner self.
The Wayhome tarot deck by Everyday Magic features images that weave in the magic of the mundane and imbue them with an enchantment that asks us to look a bit harder.

3. Exposure

We’ve found that online exposure is key to relay your brand’s purpose with custom card products. Simply being active on social media is a beneficial form of marketing. Over the past couple of years, we have used social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to market our custom cards. Recently, we started posting content on LinkedIn, which is an incredible site for companies and individuals alike to network and craft a professional message.

4. Client Product Shop

Once your cards are printed (even if we didn’t manufacture your product), you have the option to become a member of our Client Shop.
  • INCREASE AND DIVERSIFY YOUR SALES: Shuffled Ink’s goal is to invest in and cultivate a tight-knit community for our clients to feel comfortable marketing, promoting and selling their custom products. Many alternative online marketplaces charge significant referrals, percent of the sale and other exorbitant fees. This is not our approach! We truly believe that we will achieve our greatest success, by directly partnering and investing in our clients’ success.
  • MEDIA PROMOS: Most e-commerce sites will put your product live on their site and leave it collecting dust. That is not our mindset. Our goal is to actively communicate with you to ensure your message is heard. We will work alongside you to market, promote and sell your custom products on our media platforms. Prior to publishing content, we work with you to perfectly cultivate your desired message.
Here are a few examples of how we promote our clients’ products on our social media (whether available in our shop or not).
Contact us to become a member of our Client Shop or for general information about our products.

Custom Cards with a Purpose

We’re more than happy to chat with you about any and all of your ideas. Our purpose is to assist you. When you choose us to print your products, all hands are on deck. After all, your success is our success. To receive complimentary samples of our card products, include your delivery address and phone number on your custom request a quote form. ● Official Shuffled Ink website: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Playing Cards at: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Tarot Cards at: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Card Games at: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Flash Cards at: ShuffledInk


AUGMENTED REALITY IN PLAYING CARDS For centuries, playing cards have used illustrations and text to convey messages.  While these attributes continue to serve a purpose with modern-day cards, Augmented Reality is redesigning the way we play card games, use playing cards, and learn new information. AR adds a visual element to enhance a playing card’s function.  Images and descriptions may be limited to the types of cards you are trying to create.  For example, an AR application will suit decks that showcase demonstrations, athlete highlight reels and trivia/educational games.

The History of Computer-Generated Reality

While AR was not labeled the official term until 1990, the journey to its development was actively tested many years prior. Technology introduced in the 19th century and beyond paved the way for today’s AR and VR devices. AR and VR history dates back to the 1838 Stereoscope. This gadget required a pair of 2D images to create an augmented 3D image. But that was just the beginning. The 1929 Link Trainer Flight Simulator and the 1938 View-Master contributed to future tech advancements. The Trainer simulated airplane movements and the latter allowed users to experience various 3D visuals when peering through a portable stereo lens. During the 1960s, headset designs launched. These consisted of motion-tracking features with the 1961 Headsight and sense simulations with the 1962 Sensorama and Motorcycle Simulator. But the first VR head-mounted display, which hung from the ceiling and presented real-life graphics, was Ivan Sutherland’s the Sword of Damocles. Flash forward to the 21st century, where it’s likely that you have heard of or personally used these AR and VR devices: the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, Sony’s VR headset and more.

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

The origin of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is clear, but the distinction between the two gets muddled. The main difference that sets them apart is that AR displays a live view of virtually implemented elements.  This means that your real-world setting has interacting, layered images present.  Now with VR, your environment is not the background.  Instead, it transports you to a different “world” that is as real as climbing Mt. Everest or as imaginative as exploring the inside of Hogwarts.

Redefining Playing Cards

AR and VR have changed the way that we use playing cards today. This technology has seeped into our daily lives, impacting our gaming experience, education, etc. Here are some examples of this captivating function for playing cards.
  • Demonstration Cards: We recently manufactured a deck of cards for a Boy Scout troop in California.  This sparked an idea to customize a deck of cards with 52 tips to use during a camping trip.  Right now, we are working on adding AR to the mix, where each card will include a digitally demonstrated tip. This is a great hands-on lesson for visual learners.  Rather than reading a description and attempting to mirror the practice, this AR experience will be accessible and simple.  All you need is an electronic device and the designated card deck.
  • Trivia Cards: Shuffled Ink is working on implementing AR into your playing card games.  Trivia challenges are an entertaining way to test your knowledge of facts about various topics.  These trivia cards featured below use video highlight reels to reveal the answer to the printed question.  This new wave technology provides the card’s answer through an informative and exciting visual element.
For example, if the question on the card is “What is the common name for the Beatles’ self-titled double LP?” then clip montages and voice-over elements will detail the answer: the White Album.  This is an intriguing factor in what a playing card can capture, create and convey.

Augmented Reality in Playing Cards

All of these AR videos fall under a demonstrative and informative category.  The AR experience involves more than just pictures and text; we now have video and audio to bring it all to life. About two years ago, we wrote an article on the future of playing cards and what that may look like.  Augmented Reality was one of our suspected installments. We are happy to have worked with clients who wish to use the AR element.  This has transformed playing card opportunities and added a technological outlet for custom playing cards, card games and flashcards alike. ● Official Shuffled Ink website: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Playing Cards at: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Tarot Cards at: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Card Games at: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Flash Cards at: ShuffledInk


HOW TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED THE WAY WE USE FLASH CARDS Students are constantly relying on flash cards to study, but they aren’t the only ones who benefit from this valuable learning tool.  Generally, flash cards are associated with multiplication tables and definitions, but they certainly expand beyond just that. At Shuffled Ink, our clients have created customized flash cards with QR codes and Augmented Reality implementations.  You may remember your parents flipping through flash cards with pictures and words for your educational benefit.  It was simple and successful.  So, naturally, the introduction of technology-instilled flash cards further the effectiveness of learning.

QR Codes:

These audio-enhanced flash cards, known as Linguacious, developed an innovative way to learn languages. Geared toward children, an image of the designated word is displayed with a QR code.  Upon scanning the code with your phone, you will hear the pronunciation of the word in the targeted language.  Here is a visual of the fronts- and backs- of these game-based vocabulary flash cards.

Augmented Reality:

A flash card’s sole purpose doesn’t always reside in the classroom. Whether you are reading the newspaper or talking with a friend, you are exchanging information and learning something new. Technology is endlessly advancing and, with that, Augmented Reality has entered the flash card and playing card world. This relatively new term, Augmented Reality, is an interactive experience enhanced by our phones, where computer-generated images are layered on top of our real-world environment. Think about the multimedia messaging app Snapchat.  When you are taking a photo of yourself and use one of the many Snapchat lenses to place virtual sunglasses on your face, you are using Augmented Reality. But Augmented Reality can take on many different forms.  In relation to flash cards and playing cards, we have found a way to link the image on a card to a video.  So, once you place your phone over the target image, a video layers directly on top of the card and will play.

More Learning Tools:

Deaf Education:

These “Sign Me Cards” are designed for children, family and friends to learn basic American Sign Language with flash cards.  This is beneficial for deaf children to easily and accessibly learn how to communicate with others.  The cards have also been known to impact children with other disabilities like cerebral palsy who struggle with verbal communication skills.

Creative Storytelling Cards

Character cards box sets are known to provide ideas that assist with improvisation, storytelling, playwriting, pantomime and creative writing.  This allows for the mind to think outside of the box when crafting a story that involves characters with various occupations, personalities, mannerisms and more.

Employee Training

Creating PowerPoint slides and conducting meetings are not always an effective route for some business settings.  Flash cards utilize repetition to encourage time management, communication skills, risk management, etc.  This reiterates the expectations that an employer has for their employees and vice versa. If a student uses flash cards to study for an exam, then it will similarly benefit an employee who is studying on-the-job training tactics.

Redefine Flash Cards

Our clients’ abilities to design and customize has redefined the ways that flash cards are used in our daily lives.  And it has also created learning tools that are fun, entertaining and resourceful.  Explore more card options today, so we can help bring your customized flash cards to life! ● Official Shuffled Ink website: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Playing Cards at: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Card Games at: ShuffledInk ● Make Your Own Custom Flash Cards at: ShuffledInk




It’s game night! With tablets in hand, your family discusses which game to pick, and even your dog decides to bark his own suggestions, too.

Finally, you all agree on the classic game, Life.

Once all tablets are synced into game mode and each avatar is chosen, they move around your living room. As they investigate their surroundings, they sit on your couch, countertops and even your dog, Scout. But Scout doesn’t mind; he doesn’t even realize it. While your avatar is simply an added layer over our reality, it still shrieks at the sight of your dog…for everything in the living room can be seen, felt and heard by your avatar. Not to mention, the gaming experience feels real to you (the player), too.

When you roll the dice, your avatar moves five spaces on the very real board game in front of you. Then, an interactive bubble with text appears in your living room and a voice says, “You got a raise. Collect $1,000.” Even a short video pops up, featuring your avatar in a series of scenarios that show how you received the raise. With that, your avatar reaches down and from the square platform it stands on, pulls out the money earned and throws it in your direction. You flinch (you always do). Your tablet lights up in celebration, and the remaining cash falls, true to size, from your own ceiling as your digital gaming bank account increases.

You are still as shocked and overwhelmed as you were the first time you played. It continues to amaze you how revolutionary this degree of augmented reality has made your board game experience.

The game, so vivid and insanely real, makes for a spellbinding game night!

Instead of manually moving game pieces with your hand from space to space; instead of just reading a card with words to describe your next task, you experience something far less trivial than “winning”. You become immersed in your very own reality; it’s just kicked up about a dozen notches.


When we think about the future, our immediate thoughts go to stereotypical ideas often portrayed in books, movies and television shows: driving hover crafts; wearing shiny, silver jumpsuits; using holograms…fearing world domination via robotic artificial intelligence (plausible, but we won’t go there).

With the world’s many technological advances, it appears we are currently living in the “future”. But when you really think about it, no matter how much a game’s outward appearance is improved or altered, the ultimate inner objective is always the same: win. Now consider this…what if the future of games didn’t even revolve around winning at all?

In the future, perhaps the driving force to play board and card games will not be to “win,” but instead the focus will shift from “competition” to “experience”.

Augmented reality means to enhance our real-world environment by using screens to display overlaying images, sounds, etc. to create an added dimension to our reality. While the essence of gaming, both the winning and the experience, will remain the same as it has been for generations, the application and evolution of card and board games is constant and dynamic. Augmented reality will certainly be a focal point of how many games are developed, consumed and enjoyed.

So no matter what dimension or reality you are looking to create and share with the world, Shuffled Ink is the perfect partner to help bring your “future” card or board game concept to life!

● Official Shuffled Ink website: ShuffledInk

● Make Your Own Custom Playing Cards at: ShuffledInk

● Make Your Own Custom Card Games at: ShuffledInk