The origins of the '52 Cards of Learning'

Keith Farrell
Krayon Co-Founder
January 17, 2024

5 of Hearts, 10 of Diamonds, Queen of Clubs, Ace of Spades. I’ve always associated the last one with Lemmy from Motorhead but most people associate them with various playing cards in a traditional deck. Over the years, I’ve come to associate them not with a winning Poker hand or a chance to beat my wife at Snap, but with challenges and tasks set for me by the ‘52 Cards of Learning’.

In 2024 we’re taking the ‘52 Cards’ to the next level. You can now buy your very own deck and learn new things, safe in the knowledge that you’re helping to provide free educational opportunities for underserved communities.

The origins of the 52 Cards come from a place of personal frustration in 2014. I was deeply annoyed at myself for starting lots of things and not seeing them through, in both my personal and professional lives. I left lots of projects unfinished, lots of people let down and lots of potential unfulfilled. The cards were a pretty heavy-handed way of forcing myself into developing habits and seeing things through. I also knew I needed accountability to be a big part of this so I started posting the results of the challenges on Instagram and on a blog before shuffling the deck and drawing the next card.

Even though I’ve created new decks on and off over the past few years, some habits have definitely stuck, and whilst there’s still a LOT of room for improvement, I’ve done loads and learned loads along the way.

The 52 Cards have led me into unchartered territory and dragged me outside of my comfort zone on too many occasions to mention. Without them, I’d have never visited all 32 counties in Ireland in a week, taken up extreme ironing(!), learned some origami, picked up a paintbrush again, rekindled my love for writing poetry (and photography), or had a pint on Clare Island.

In completing each task I learned something new and grew as a person and this is something I want to share with people.

What started out in December 2014 with me at a kitchen table with a pack of dog-eared cards and a permanent marker has evolved into something more, a mission to spread the habit and virtues of lifelong learning, one deck at a time!

I’ve designed and printed a limited edition run of card decks, featuring beautiful illustrations from the incredible Fuchsia MacAree. Each card features a task to be tackled. You’ll learn something, add to your skillset and have a lot of fun in the process.

At Krayon, a huge part of our mission is to give back along the way. Profits from the sale of the ‘52 Cards of Learning’ will go towards providing free educational workshops and classes for underserved communities in Dublin. Buy your limited-edition pack, get your friends, family and colleagues involved, and join us on this learning journey!