Analog & Duolog




Ruth Kedar was born in Brazil, but moved to Israel in her youth. After receiving a degree in Architecture there at Technion, the Israelian Institute of Technology, she moved to the US for a Masters Program in Design at the Stanford University. Her master thesis there was on playing cards design. This brought her a commission by Adobe Systems to be one of the designers of the Adobe deck. She remained at Stanford University as a Consultant Art Professor from 1988 to 1999.
She has designed two award winning decks. The first one was printed by Carta Mundi from Belgium and published as "Analog" in 1989 in an edition of 1000 red and black decks. The second one is titled "Duolog" and was printed by Colorgraphics from San Francisco, USA. This deck was published in a limited and numbered edition of 200 copies only in 1996. 

Ruth Kedar has received several design awards and her artwork has been shown in the US and internationally, but she is probably best known for designing the Google logo. She was one of the founders of Art.Net and her work can be seen there in her online studio since 1994 in 4 portfolio's: digital art, monotypes, mixed media and playing cards.
She's also a member of the 52+Joker club of American playing card collectors and has designed the membership list's covers in 1998 and 2000.

But who can better introduce her art than Ruth her self, as expressed in her Artist Statement.........

"More than making single images, I develop logical structures that create new visual progressions.
I work in many layers. My philosophy and aesthetics are the fibers that run through them, connecting, expanding. The creative process, this dialog between self and medium, evolves into visual languages-- their grammar ever changing to encompass new avenues of thought.
Therefore, my medium of choice is always a vehicle of variation and exploration. Currently I am working on several new art series, gestating a book on patterns, and developing a new deck of transformation cards."

Ruth Kedar, September 1995


In the Analog deck only 2 colours are used: black for the Clubs and Spades and red for the Diamonds and Hearts. The basics for the deck are kept simple and efficient. The type font is slim and to the point.

Suit symbols can be found at the top of each card. On the courts they are also integrated in the complete design. They either form the crown or cap, or are set in a pattern against diagonal lines. Although all the cards have indices, the denomination or value of a card can be read in two other ways too. One can count the number of suit symbols, that form a line at the top and bottom of the cards, but one can also count the lines that are set diagonally in the design. On the Aces there's only one diagonal line and one suit symbol, on the Kings there are 13 lines and suit symbols. By placing these elements on the borders of the cards interesting patterns appear when fanning the cards.


What immediately catches the eye is that all the Queens seem to be "veiled" and that all the courts are one-eyed . The design of their faces was brought back to basics: an eyebrow, an eye, a nose rim and a mustache. Yet these are the only non-geometrical elements and in this way emphasize the human element in the complete design, that is basicly formed by lines and geometrical shapes and sequences. Even the hair and beards are reduced to triangular, quadrangular or pentangular shapes. A female touch is given to the Queens' hair: a curved side in the quadrangle. 

The one-eyed Jack of Spades, the one-eyed King of Diamonds and the horizontal sword over the King of Hearts suggest that the anglo-american pattern has inspired the artist. The attributes consist of swords and axes, but they seem to have been divided randomly among the suits. The Spades are best armed with 3 swords, although it's highly irregular to see the Queen of Spades with one. The Clubs have to do with only one sword. 

The joker has a design with some frivolous, curved, elements. On all the other cards the broad red or black lines indicate the card values. The joker has ten of them, but -and this must be a coincidence- in this design these create 11 thin white lines and here in the Netherlands 11 is often refered to as the fool's number.

Because of the use of two colours only and the straight-on design, the analog deck highly suggests functionality. How different is her second deck, which is shown on page 2............

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