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visual communication practice

Play the Hand You're Dealt


Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

In my attempt to create a different relation to debt, I have concentrated more specifically on debt in relation to gambling, while also covering more general factors that influence debt for the average person, couple or family.

I feel that the best way to enforce an anti-gambling campaign such as this is to incorporate the message into the problem itself. Through the use of playing cards, which are a predominant gaming element, the message incorporated into them becomes increasingly significant for the players. These messages are intended to relate to the majority of money handlers in some way. Whether you are an adult, mother, father, worker or student players will hopefully feel strong empathy towards the statements. This recognition of the everyday financial difficulties people all over the world suffer from are strengthened through the link of the card number and the statement itself. This will generally keep the players mind away from the game they are playing and make him or her consider the harsh consequences of their actions (gambling). While at the same time, this concept reminds the individual that no matter what level of gambling they are participating in, it’s not an intelligent option as it has a strong potential of making life much more difficult.

My fundamental slogan for the gambling and debt theme is “play the hand you’re dealt”. This fits in well with my concept as it is up to the player who decides whether they spend their well-earned money on gambling or on the essential costs of day-to-day life. They have the opportunity to affect the direction of their future, and the way they deal with this depends on the individual. The aim of these cards is to encourage the gamer to deal with their financial dilemmas by avoiding gambling altogether as with the current financial crisis money is not a game and people need to be ultimately cautious of where they spend their money.

The overall appearance of the deck of cards is consistent with an underlying carnival theme which basically summaries the money scavenger trademark that ‘carneys’ are given. This is portrayed in this way due to the fact that casino’s are very much the same in the way they graciously rake in peoples much needed cash. I think the upper market appearance of casino cards gives players a false sense of confidence in what they are doing, ignoring the fact that winning is purely based on a slim chance of luck.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

The approach of incorporating my idea into playing cards is used as it attracts and directly relates to people who gamble, to whatever extent they take part.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

The confronting messages displayed on the cards ultimately leaves the players to carefully consider their finance situation and avoid gambling altogether.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I learnt that through the people who viewed my playing cards the many situations that put us in debt are more common to the majority of people than we realise. A lot of people could relate to the majority of the cards statements.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

The playing cards are good communication because the overall appearance and theme responds to the target audience of gamblers, hence displaying the confronting message that hopefully makes them think about their actions.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

I hope to implement my work within my friendship group as people of my age tend to gamble often.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

Not at this stage

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

Games are great design strategies to get people to think through different experiences and role-play ideas and scenarios of their behavior. I like the card idea here in that it does not actually constitute a game in itself about debt (with particular rules about debt and etc with objectives and what not).

Anyone that can play a standard card game, will get a kind of 'PSA' (or public service announcement) as they play through. So that's effective and capable of reaching a wide audience.

There are two comments:

one: how could you create an optional "game" that emphasized an important behavioral change of "not gambling," or squandering your "resources" through a standard 52 deck card set? This could be essentially rules + instructions packaged with the cards. This way it's an option and people can still use your cards to play standard games, or they can get more topic specific through the experience and reflection of working through "your" game and the subject of debt.

and two: the text tends to be tongue in cheek- is there another way to talk to your user about information on a level that makes them connect ideas or go a bit deeper with their understanding of the idea of personal debt?

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Entry details


Play the Hand You're Dealt


Playing Cards

Concept author(s)

Joshua Fry

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Concept, design and creation.



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

University of Ballarat