So what’s going on?

I’m on the brink of launching a re-work of the Life Design cards. I didn’t think this would happen as I was feeling uncomfortable about the circumstances around the decision to re-make it.

After all, the First Edition deck was beautiful, accessible, and connected with my customer base. I love the fact that it is a problem-solving deck that can function independently or blended with other card decks for a different perspective.

So why did I withdraw it?

On the face of it, it was not the most cost-effective deck. Having a booklet and differing colours/patterns at the back of the cards made the printing cost much higher than the other cards I have created. It also divided into four different visual styles, which did not help to create a cohesive looking format. On reflection, its instructions for use and numbering were needlessly complex to follow.

But, alas, these were not the reasons I took the product from the market. It was for a much more personally upsetting reason.
About ten years ago, I had undergone a two-week training in Permaculture Design. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and had fun applying the principles to my daily life and garden design. With a background in coaching, I could see how the questions raised within Permaculture could be used in many aspects of life. So, I was inspired to incorporate the principles and tools into a card deck that would find a new audience.

So, I added the twelve design-web anchor points and Permaculture Principles into a newly formed deck along with 24 additional prompts. I tried to honour the original design web-tool by numbering it in a specific order and created spread ideas around the tool (cards 1-12) and Permaculture Principles (cards 13-24). I referenced the origin of my Permaculture web-tool at the back of the enclosed booklet: linking it to a number referencing system in the title of the relevant booklet section.

One day last year, I received a heavy-handed threatening email from the publishers of the Permaculture web-tool creator, instructing me to stop selling immediately and to enter into negotiation about a way forward. The email implied I was someone who had deliberately stolen the author’s work for my benefit (it was also cc’d to a host of other people). My referencing was not of a standard they expected.

What happened after?

I have a history of social anxiety disorder, which creates a sense of fear of judgment from authority figures. There is no way on earth I would have intentionally created this harm to another or actively brought this humiliating experience upon myself. I naively thought I was referencing her work and applying it in a new format. Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight, I see what a stupid fool I was to think that. I also completely understand their point of view.

However, I could not escape the harshness of the tone. I was unable to view Permaculture in the same positive light as I had before. Earthcare, Peoplecare, Fairshare had a hollow sound to me for some time afterward. So, I shrunk away from view for a while, licking my wounds, reflecting and pondering what to do next.

Although a workable solution of a way forward was suggested, I did not want to be tied by another party or feel I would have to continue to compensate in the future financially. I want to retain my independence as an artist. I also do not want to create anything from a place of disapproval. It is mortifying to a sensitive person like me! So, I decided to take the deck out of print permanently and move on.

But, email requests for the deck kept trickling in. I remember some warm and beautiful email exchanges when I attempted to explain what had happened. People could understand that it was human error on my part but that all was not lost. There was much more to this deck than twelve cards. They planted the seed for me to gather the confidence to find a way through.
With time, I could see a way forward. I still wanted a thread of the Permaculture Principles to run through it and have done my best to interpret them (for a personal development card deck) with references on every card. I also wanted to remove the twelve-step Design-web tool. After all, the tool was unnecessarily complicating the deck format. When I deconstructed it, it was the headings that many of us use every day (like rest, reflect, obstacles, etc.) I also had many more personal prompts within the rest of the deck, plus a few extras I had collected on the way. So, mixing all the cards into a random fashion made it behave more like a regular deck and took away the strict numerical order that the tool placed on the deck. After all, who keeps a card deck in their exact order? Card decks are to be mixed up and random.

The New Life Design Deck 2.0

I include new visual themes that we are all collectively dealing with in difficult times. So, the Life Design Cards 2.0 is a new deck to reflect these times and evolves into something much more expansive. It is a collection of all that I am, based on experience, skills, and knowledge accumulated over time. I think the new deck is now much better than the old one. It is a grown-up version with a cohesive vision that incorporates Nature, Permaculture, Environmental topics, and the vulnerabilities of being human within a problem-solving deck no matter what subject you wish to investigate. My visual representations are a small aspect of what each card can mean to a person. They provide a visual narrative to help the cards sit well together. They look fresh, and I see myself reflected in them.

So, I hope you can forgive me for messing up. I hope this new deck reflects my intention to create cards that are kind and realistic and that fit nicely within the other three decks I have designed.

Onwards and upwards!