The Marseille Deck


The Marseille deck is one of the classics when it comes to tarot. Its bright cheerful colors and bold lines are striking and playful at the same time. Its characteristic style comes from the method of block printing that was used to create this deck. It took no fewer than four master craftsmen to complete these designs: a paper maker, a designer, a form cutter, and a printer.

The designer would first draw the images on a block of wood. For Tarot cards, the blocks were quite large, with many rows of cards carved into a single piece of wood. Next, the form cutter whittled away the background, leaving raised images that were then covered with ink. Afterward, paper was laid on top of those raised images and rubbed with a wooden implement to transfer the ink. When the ink was dry, the images were colored in by hand or with stencils. Once dry, the cards were cut apart and glued onto heavy paper.

This elaborate procedure is why the deck features only a few colors. It’s minimalism when it comes to color and design make this deck a bright stand out worthy of any tarot readers attention. The more that I learn about tarot history the more honored I am to be part of this ancient tradition. I feel that when you use a classic deck, like The Marseille, you’re able to tap into it’s amazing history which only adds to it’s powerful divinatory capabilities.

What are your thoughts on the Marseille deck? Share below in the comments.