Humble Raja is a design studio created to investigate, celebrate and share our South Asian identity through illustration. We design objects and games that evoke curiosity and bring people together.
We are Bhavesh and Reena Mistry, two Gujarati-Canadian illustrators bound by our fascination with South-Asian culture.
We were both born in England and met in Toronto, spending much of our youth drawing. We grew up to realize we were head over heels for design as much as we were for each other. After experiencing our own Indian wedding, we found our South Asian upbringing in the West intriguing - it was often a clash of culture and traditions. We realized there was so much we didn't know and understand about our culture, and needed an outlet to share what we uncovered.
In 2015 we created Humble Raja to explore and share our South Asian identity through design in the same way you'd indulge in a delicious Indian meal with friends - we wanted to offer a taste of something new and delightful that you'd enjoy in good company.
Our first project, Kings of India, was inspired by India’s four greatest dynasties. We carefully detailed a set of playing cards to reveal the marvels and quirks of India's monarchs. Our Kickstarter campaign was a great success, gained international press, and over 4,000 decks made their way to homes worldwide.
Our second collection, Forbidden Forest, explores the wild creatures from the vast and ancient world of South Asian folklore. It was awarded Juror’s Choice and People’s Choice Award for Best Exhibition at Canada’s leading (and largest) annual design festival, DesignTO. The project also led to a collaboration with Collective Arts where their work was featured as part of their Series 21 collection, and a Toronto-wide Out of Home Campaign.
In 2022 we were selected as 1 of 8 artists from across the country to participate in Elevate's NFT residency program - the first of its kind in Canada. Our collection, Matchbox (Series 01) was showcased beside leading artists and visionaries, such as Krista Kim, at the Design Exchange. Reena spoke on stage at Elevate Tech Festival alongside the most innovative thought-leaders of Web3 to share how artists are using technology to tell impactful stories, build communities, break down barriers, and craft their dreams.
Globe & Mail
Are playing cards poised to overtake puzzles as our activity of choice in 2022?
Humble Raja’s ‘Forbidden Forest’: From Exhibition to Playing Cards
The Toronto Observer
Forbidden forest sparks interest in Hindu folklore
Forbidden Forest: le carte illustrate dedicate alla mitologia induista
2021 Holiday Gift Guide
A Deck 2,300 Years in the Making
17 Culturally Diverse Decks Of Playing Cards That Will Blow Your Mind
Humble Raja designs illustrated Kings of India playing cards
India's Great Kings Immortalized in a Deck of Cards
Juror's Choice Award
People's Choice Award
Matchbox (Series 01)
Elevate NFT Gallery | Design Exchange
DesignTO 2019 | Artscape Youngplace
Kings of India Collection
Interior Design Show 2016 | Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Get in touch
Whether you're a designer or cultural enthusiast, feel free to drop us a note to say hello. We'd love to meet you. And if you happen to be in Toronto, let's grab a drink and talk shop.