Why Playing Cards Are Red and Black in Color

(Last Updated On: August 10, 2023)
Why Playing Cards Are Red and Black in Color

Playing cards are one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment. Over the years, their design has evolved, but one thing remains the same – the suits of hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades are always red and black.

Why? What’s the history behind this iconic color scheme? And why is it so popular?

In this article, we’ll explore all these questions and more. We’ll also reveal the logic behind why cards are red and black and what implications this has for the future of card games.

Rich History of Card Decks

Playing Rummy has a long and rich history, and their color choice has always been a controversial issue.

The traditional red and black deck originates from India in the late 1500s. The original design was likely based on the Indian number system, which used different colors to represent other numbers.

Red represented 1, Black represented 10, and Green represented 2. This system was later adopted by other countries, including China and Europe.

While there are many theories about why these two colors were chosen specifically, the most popular one is that they symbolize courage and strength.

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Four-Coloured Card Decks for limiting Confusion

Cards originally consisted of three colors – red, green, and blue. However, over time people became confused about what each color meant, so in the late 16th century, card makers began to add a fourth color – Black.

This way, players would know which card was which without having to look at the face of the card. This system works well because it limits the amount of Confusion that can arise during a game.

Red denotes coins (wealth), Green denotes trees (growth), blue denotes water (seas), and Black denotes death (destiny).

So, by knowing which card is, players can keep track of their progress and make better decisions about how to play the game.

[ Also Read About: Is it Legal to Play Online Rummy in India? Absolutely! ]

Modern-Day Playing Cards Inked in Red and Black

Cards have been inked in red and black since the fifteenth century. The modern-day versions are typically made from hard plastic or paper printed with traditional colors.

This color scheme is not entirely clear, but it seems to have something to do with symbolism.

Red represents strength and power, while Black symbolizes secrecy and mystery. Together, these two colors create an image linked to luck and fortune throughout history.

There have been a few color changes to cards throughout the years, but they have been around for millennia. In the Middle Ages, cards were usually painted bright colors like red and yellow.

However, as society became more rigid and formalized, these brighter colors began to clash with people’s more subdued clothes. So in the 14th century, card makers started inking their cards black instead of red.

This change didn’t sit well with everyone, though, so over time, various groups within society started arguing about whether Black or red should be the dominant color.

Whichever the case may be, there’s no doubt that playing cards in red and black are a tradition that will continue to endure for years to come.

From our overview above, you can easily understand why cards are restricted to a specific color.

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With the advent of technology, the traditional rummy game is being replaced by a Digital version Online on various platforms.

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Constant Change in Trends

  • Not for the first time we have seen this trend. Thousands of years ago, decks were exclusively made of animal hide until tarot cards came into existence in the 1490s.
  • Tarot was unlike other types of playing cards at the time because it had four suits and 22 major arcana cards only based on the occult philosophy and Christian theology. However, these new formats were also rejected by several people due to various controversies surrounding them.
  • If you were wondering why cards are only available in one color, it all started with the royal game of kings and queens. The reason behind making them red and black was to make it easier for the players to identify their suits.
  • Besides that, several other factors also contributed to this design choice, including how people used to hold the cards before adding a scoring system.

Moreover, it also made playing more enjoyable because each card had different pictures and symbols on them!


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