Swinburne alumnus works his magic

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Swinburne alumni and magician Nathan Darma

Magician Nathan Darma’s custom deck of playing cards sold out at Walmart and stores throughout Europe | Image: nathandarma.com

In summary

  • Written by Kaitlyn Blanchard, Bachelor of Media and Communication, Swinburne University of Technology

When Swinburne alumnus and magician, Nathan Darma, wanted to create a unique deck of playing cards, he was only thinking about his own use. Soon they were sold out at stores throughout Germany, Sweden and Italy, as well as at US retail giant Walmart.

Tricky business

Mr Darma’s Implicit Playing Cards are not your standard deck of playing cards.

Tired of the look of traditional playing cards, he designed a more bold and stylish deck of cards that would set him apart when showing off his magic tricks.

The cards came to life with some help from his social media following.

“The minimum number of decks the manufacturer required to place an order was far too high and far too expensive for just myself,” he says.

“So I reached out to my Instagram followers to see if they would be interested in a custom deck of cards made by me.”

The answer was an overwhelming ‘yes’, and within four days Mr Darma had a fully crowdfunded campaign on the Kickstarter platform.

Mr Darma says it was surreal to have his cards stocked and sold out at Walmart, as well as at other stores.

On the back of the cards’ success, he’s now planning a second version of his Implicit Playing Cards featuring new colours and foil printing to make them shine. More than 500 people have pledged $27,000 towards the decks, which are expected to become available later this year.

Tapping into magic

Mr Darma began practicing magic seven years ago, after a friend showed him a card trick at a party.

“They grabbed the deck of cards sitting on the table and proceeded to show me this trick that absolutely floored my sense of reality for a moment,” he says.

He never forgot that feeling and went away to learn how to do the trick himself.

Now, Mr Darma is hired to perform at events and collaborates with brands to create surreal social media content.

“I realised that, as adults, we don’t often get to experience these moments of unexplainable childlike wonder, and I love being able to provide people with that,” he says.

When he’s not wowing people with his tricks, Mr Darma also heads up sales and marketing at Australian swimwear label, Skwosh, where he puts to use the skills he learned studying for a Bachelor of Arts at Swinburne.

Teaming up with Coca-Cola

Swinburne alumni and magician Nathan Darma working with Coca Cola‌Nathan Darma provided his magic touch to Coca-Cola's 'Make It Yours' campaign | Image: nathandarma.com

Mr Darma has brought his magic to events and advertising campaigns for Pedestrian, Optus, Chobani, Schntiz and Marley Spoon, just to name a few. But he considers his most memorable collaboration to date with Coca-Cola for their ‘Make It Yours’ campaign, which encouraged people to put their own twist on their favourite Coca-Cola drink.

Coca-Cola approached Mr Darma in late 2018 to help promote their campaign over summer. This included adding his sleight of hand to a series of social media posts, as well as being flown to the Gold Coast to bewitch schoolies creating their own Coca-Cola recipes as part of the ‘Make It Yours’ activation.

“It was such a great experience working with a brand as big as Coca-Cola, and for an extended period of time,” he says.

“I look forward to more collaborations of that calibre in the future.”

To witness Nathan Darma’s magic in action, visit nathandarma.com or @sleightlyjacked on Instagram.