Design of Fortune Deck Series

Project : Design of Fortune for AIGA Mentorship

Liz Zvereva
10 min readMay 18, 2017


In 2016, I got chosen to participate in the AIGA Mentorship 2017 in Orlando, Fl. Within this post I will show a quick process on how things went down, where I got my ideas, how things came out in showcase, and the entire experience. Most of all, I want this post to show that even though a project could be so neat, there’s a huge process that goes behind this. Again I hope some of you will enjoy and maybe make some use out of this.

The first meeting.

This is the day where I met everyone that got selected for the mentorship showcased. Everyone was down to earth and the AIGA committee provided free food so that’s always a plus. This is where I met my mentor, he was a chill dude where we both made some similar projects around Halloween candy. I thought it was a great start for the mentorship, but through out the whole process I’ll say right away he was genuinely a good guy, but not the right mentor for me towards the end. So there for I will not publish his name out there.

The Idea.

Gosh. The idea actually just came to me, as bad as it sounds, but the whole process behind the idea is where it becomes more complicated. Towards Christmas time in a work party is where I thought of the idea “Design of Fortune”. I was so bored out of my mind I decided to brainstorm all of the ideas out on my iphone. Out of any of the ideas I thought of like Outer space insurance, my branding ( Ocean), flower shop, and so on the main idea of fortune took my off guard. I just knew I had to do it even if I had no meaning to it at first.

It took me awhile trying to figure out what will be the meaning out of this. This is initially what went through my head, people relied on fortune tellers to know how their future will be presented. In this day age, I feel like it’s up to us designers to know what will be trending and making sure our designs will fit perfectly. As a designer, I love to predict whats next and making sure all designs will succeed after years pass. With this theme, it would help me expand on who I am and showcase what I can bring to the table. Along with that I find it interesting how everything is connected in its own way, for instance Tarot cards has its own sets of Archetypes and I thought why not make it part of design as well. With that being said, that’s what I thought this will be about. My mentor then said tie it with meaning and my branding, when in reality no matter how hard I tried I didn’t want to make a project based on my branding. Later down the road with the idea, I would do a ton of research on what tarot cards are, what are fortune tellers, what is fortune is surrounded by and so on.

For example, random fact he Tarot deck is made up of 78 Tarot cards, each with its own unique Tarot card meaning. There are 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards across four suits (Cups, Pentacles, Swords and Wands). The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that reflect key archetypes or spiritual lessons in our lives. With this in mind, I have work and I have to design a whole theme and table by May. I knew there’s no way to tie in 78 design terms in a tarot card deck, design each one, and make each one meaningful. After research and more research I realized that everything takes time and you can never rush into a project with out doing investigation.

After going to the drawing board multiple times I finally got the idea that would actually work and make it successful for the showcase. My main two pieces will be based on the tarot cards and fortune teller. It won’t be completely based off of it, but inspired by it. To make it less project heavy instead of 72 cards, or even 22 cards, I will focus on main 20. With not only tarot cards, I will also make a fortune teller to connect the audience with my design.

A fortune teller is paper folded into four squares then fold 2 more times. Then you pick 1 to 4 to reveal your fortune as a designer. I believe this would be a fun interaction for the audience, where they wouldn’t forget, but be inspired to create more. The rest of my list like posters and stickers will be based off the cards for a little take away as well.

This whole project is based on what are designers, what we do, and how we are all connected. Along with the fortune theme, it tags along how our fields is a fortune based on the the design itself, freelance, and computers crashing to where our projects are lost. Life is a gamble and that’s what designers are. I wanted to create a project where everyone around me can connect to.

Time Management & Money.

Now I will say this right away. Even though the AIGA mentorship is 100% a fun experience itself, it is a money drainer. Meaning you’re going to spend money on everything you make including how your booth looks. Again, you can still win even in a low budget of $300.00 dollars. To me that’s high, but after doing this I ended up spending roughly around $700 dollars in total. I managed my money and even made a list on how I would spend on everything.

This was my list when I first started out.

- Posters (2x) $110 x 2= $220

- Pins & Stickers (2x) $107

- Playing Cards (8x) $200

- Playing cards box (1x) $30.00

- Business Cards (1x) $110

- Glass Ball $40.00

- Portfolio Book (2x) $130

- Cloth (borrow)

- Table (borrow)

- Postcards $20.00

- Monitor (borrow)

- Confetti $5.00

- Candles $7.00

- Fortune Teller paper/inc $20

Realistically this is how it came out

- Pins & Stickers (6x) $290

- Playing Cards (11x) $200

- Reprint $60.00

- Cloth ($50.00)

- Table (borrow)

- Monitor (borrow)

- Candles $7.00

- Fortune Teller paper/inc $150.00

It comes out to a big difference when money and time comes into play, for example I didn’t have time to do posters. Instead I decided to print out more fortune tellers. Along with money, time management is huge. My biggest advice would be always make room for error and always over estimate. I would give myself so much extra time and still try to follow the schedule. Sadly, life happens and you can’t plan out every single event that will happen.

The process. Where the idea comes to life.

With all this talking, I’ll finally show you where everything comes to life. Either inspiration boards, sketches, concepts, drafts, and the final product.


The image above is a few inspiration pieces I gathered for the theme of fortune. This board gave me a vision on what fortune is and what would be the focuses. In total I had about 4 different inspiration boards one on style, theme, layout, and type. I think its important to gather pieces in this area because it helps make the sketches and the final process easier. I find all my inspiration on Dribbble,Instagram,Pinterest,Behance,Unsplash, and more.


Always sketch. It’s a lot easier to put your ideas down on paper rather than illustrating them on the computer. I believe it takes a few times before getting the sketch you truly love. There are times where 1 sketch could be enough, while other times it could take 50 times. In the end, as long if you could get your message across and it’s worthy enough that’s when a sketch is good enough.


The process through packaging goes through a lot of sketches, measurements, mockups, and of course product shoots. Normally I have the outline printed out and I would do several sketches. Once I’m happy with one, I would take my trusty x-acto knife and put the package together. This would let me see how the design would look like if it were to printed out and what needs to be fixed during the vectoring process. After it gets vectored out, I would repeat the process of putting the package together till the final piece is good for the final print.

Behind the scenes of Photoshop.

After getting all of my products printed, I decided to give a little photo shoot for it to show that I truly made it become real life. It wasn’t shot with the best equipment in the world, but I made it work with a Polaroid light kit ($35.00) and a DSLR Canon 60D and lots of photoshop. I’ll say in the end the final results came out decent.

Left (Before) Right (After)

Final Product!

As for the final product, please click here to see the final cards,packaging, and paper fortune tellers!


Below, you’ll see multiple pictures on how the booth came out for the AIGA Showcase. I can’t thank enough for my dad building this tent. His profession is in upholstery, which helped a lot building this into a fortune booth. We went to HomeDepot for the pipes and screwed the pieces together. We got this idea using pipes due to traveling because it’s easy to set it up and take it apart. Now the only problem is how are we going to make this look like a tent out of pipes. Luckily, I have a dad with sewing skills like no other that made the fabric I bought from Walmart fit nicely. I kept it simple with the colors to fit with the branding, while placing fortune teller inspired items on the table I wanted the crystal ball, lights, and candles to give it a feel as if you are at a designer fortune booth.

AIGA Showcase Experience

I will say this had its ups and downs, but I thought it was a fun experience. Again this is all based on my opinion not everyone will agree to it, but here is some of my opinions.

  1. Game Changer. This showcase helped me open my eyes on what matters when it comes to design. It helped me layout better, be more organized with time and money, have fun with it, see how people look at your work, view everyones stuff, and just get really inspired. After looking at everyones stuff it’s amazing to see what every designer will come up with in their own style.
  2. Mentor. I wish I can say much about my mentor during this process, but it felt loose through out the journey. He did open my eyes thought when it came to type and how you shouldn’t be scared to mess around with it when it comes to overlapping, mixing different types, and so on. Besides that, I will say my friends, instructors, family would be my mentors. They helped me from the start to finish from designing to setting the booth and I couldn’t ask for better people to help me through out it.
  3. Is it worth it? I want to say yes and no. The mentor is gamble if they’re truly good for you or not because I heard mixed opinions on everyones mentor. So you have to hope its worth it. If you don’t get a good mentor that’s still okay because this whole experience is on design. Even if this is called AIGA Mentorship , you can still make it about your project and how you can express yourself to everyone. I think you have to have a mentality to want it, to where you’ll make your project work from start to finish. After that finish line, oh honey its worth it. Seeing everyone look at your work, having people tell you good job and maybe even get inspired. I think that’s the best feeling to see those sketches become real to where everyone can see.

In the end, I had a great experience with this mentorship. I saw my projects come alive and even saw people get inspired to the point some people took cards when they weren’t supposed to. I didn’t win, but I won myself a kick ass project for everyone to see. Thanks again for the experience AIGA Orlando, I wouldn’t forget this and the people who inspired and helped me.

Thanks for reading and if you didn’t see the final project please click here !



Liz Zvereva

Designer. Pizza lover.