I had the pleasure of participating in the Playing Arts Special Edition Deck Contest. This is the twisted path I took that lead to the creation of my entry.
I was assigned the 7 of Diamonds.  It was my goal to create something simple and iconic that was relevant and respectful to the suit and number.  I have an affinity for swords, and they are right at home in the symbolism of a deck of cards. So two crossed swords bearing 3 diamonds each and 1 in the center seemed valid.
Though black and red are the most appropriate colors for this card, it wasn't going to be effective with this design.  The echoing diamond shape in the background would end up competing with the central icon.  I played with color, light, and different effects to make the design pop.
Moving colors around got me thinking....what if I made a gif?  This happened.
But just two swords didn't have enough depth conceptually to me.  It didn't mean enough.  I got to to thinking the importance of the number 7.  
I thought about the importance of diamonds too, about fortune.  Maybe the card could be a bad luck card, broken diamonds. It would be a different take.  Red is symbolic too. Could it mean something about blood?
At this point I was focused on wrapping the card around this concept: if you desire fortune, you must bleed for it.  This became too heavy conceptually, and no longer felt on point for a deck of cards. The card should be smart and have meaning, but it also needs to stay fun. 
In my frustrations I drew a space ship.  I had space mission patches on my mind that day.  I did some research and apparently Ursa Minor has SEVEN main stars.  There are more stars around it, but the main ones are seven. Time for a visual pun. 
This is what I was looking for.  A witty maneuver that still respects the card but also means a little more without being to heavy or preachy.   I played with having the sun get knocked out into the negative shape so the rocket breaches the art.  I added a rocket trail with a shadow underneath to have it appear that part of the card is being pulled by the rocket.  

I had my concept.  Now I just need for the design to have a bit more impact, I still felt the crossed swords had more umph visually.  I wasn't satisfied with any of the above until finally.....

Thanks for viewing/Voting!  It's official, this will be the 7 of Diamonds.  Expect an update with the actual card soon!
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