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Graphic Design in board game design

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Anonymous

Hi, I am a college student majoring graphic design. I need a little input to complete my concept paper. I am not sure where I should send this question, so I hope I'm not totally wrong place.

So, I have a final project. The subject of my project is to design the visual of a boardgame. But I have a little problem about the definition of the graphic design role in a board game. It's kinda important for my concept paper. Because if I can't put it in the right position, I don't have a strong argument in the presentation.

I have searched about that in internet but haven't found anything worth enough.

FYI, I am actually design the boardgame mechanism my self, because I need to make some variation items and a specific theme for the project

Thx in adv.

Best regard,
Anita.

phpbbadmin
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So...

So what is your question?

-Darke

Caparica
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Re: Graphic Design in board game design

Anita,

I am not quite sure about your question but here comes.
The overall design of the production of the game (not the design of the game per se) is usually in charge of a graphic designer, an art director or a product designer.
The graphic design of the game involves:

- Logo design for the game.
- Board, card and bits design.
- Instructions layout.
- Package design.
- Illustration and photos.

Paulo
www.2concept.com

Sephire wrote:
Hi, I am a college student majoring graphic design. I need a little input to complete my concept paper. I am not sure where I should send this question, so I hope I'm not totally wrong place.

So, I have a final project. The subject of my project is to design the visual of a boardgame. But I have a little problem about the definition of the graphic design role in a board game. It's kinda important for my concept paper. Because if I can't put it in the right position, I don't have a strong argument in the presentation.

Scurra
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Graphic Design in board game design

I imagine it's something like "what's the role of graphic design in boardgames"?

In which case there are surface answers: "the box cover", "the components", "the ruleset" etc., which are interesting in their own right, since those are largely related to first impressions; the box has a great impact on your purchasing decision, the components will often create a mindset with which you approach the game, the layout of the ruleset can tell you a lot about the intent of the game.

But there's a deeper level too. Theme is often a touchy subject with respect to strategy games as there is often an accusation of "pasted-on themes" to disguise a truly abstract base. But the level of graphic design applied to the game can go an awfully long way towards psychologically setting up the theme. Similarly, the style of the graphic design is crucial too: a game with cartoon art throughout had probably better not be deep and intricate as the atmosphere engendered by the design choice will not suit it. (That's not to say that there aren't "exceptions that prove the rule" of course :-)

Anonymous
Graphic Design in board game design

Yes, my question is What's the role/position of graphic design in boardgame?

Thx for the replies :). If I may conclude, a graphic design/art director is in charge on the post production. To clothe and pack the 'game concept' which will be sold. Just like the role of graphic designer in publishing magazine or books. Correct me if there is more explanation.

So, is a graphic designer can possible involve in the beginning process of designing a game?

best,
Anita

phpbbadmin
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Graphic Design in board game design

Sephire wrote:
Yes, my question is What's the role/position of graphic design in boardgame?

Thx for the replies :). If I may conclude, a graphic design/art director is in charge on the post production. To clothe and pack the 'game concept' which will be sold. Just like the role of graphic designer in publishing magazine or books. Correct me if there is more explanation.

So, is a graphic designer can possible involve in the beginning process of designing a game?

best,
Anita

Anita,

Usually not, unless the graphic artist is also the designer or part of the design team. Some of our members here are both graphic designers and game designers, so of course they are involved in the design process of the game. Publishing houses have been known to make changes to a game design (including a complete retooling of the theme) in order to either the make the game easier/less costly to publish or to make the game more marketable. What part a graphic designer would have in such a change, I do not know. You might want to ask Yekrats (or hope that he replies), whom is a user here. He has both done art for games as well as designed his own (obviously the art as well).

-Darke

prophx
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Graphic Design in board game design

I by no means am a graphic designer, although I love creating graphics, and have recently began creating the graphics for games - without rules or anything in mind and then the game follows. My mind being much more visual starts going in a million directions to link the graphic elements into a playable game.

Many times I will go to an image site, pull similarly themed graphics into my editing program, build a board or a few cards with nothing on them and stare at them for a while. A day or two later the game pops into existence. I don't know if this would work in the professional world though. It sure is great for brainstorming. Piecepack is also good for a somewhat similar experience.

Rob

Anonymous
Graphic Design in board game design

caparica wrote:
The graphic design of the game involves:

- Logo design for the game.
- Board, card and bits design.
- Instructions layout.
- Package design.
- Illustration and photos.

I think Paulo does a nice job cataloging the duties of the graphic designer(s) and what is expected of them when working on a game.

Scurra wrote:
Theme is often a touchy subject with respect to strategy games as there is often an accusation of "pasted-on themes" to disguise a truly abstract base. But the level of graphic design applied to the game can go an awfully long way towards psychologically setting up the theme. Similarly, the style of the graphic design is crucial too: a game with cartoon art throughout had probably better not be deep and intricate as the atmosphere engendered by the design choice will not suit it.

Great job bringing the role of the designer into focus. While working on the various parts that Paulo details, the designer must always keep the theme in place. Every element of the game must reinforce the theme in some way in order to make the game a cohesive unit. It's all about style.

Good luck on your project. Be sure to post some details or samples of your game here!

OldScratch
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Graphic Design in board game design

I'm one of them designer/artist/graphic designers here. I basically write the game, do all the artwork for it, and all the layout of the rules and I create all of the game component graphics (like the boards and such). I now understand why you'd need different people to work on all of these things. :)

So yeah, there is a big role for graphic designers to play in the creation of the boardgame. Rulebook layout is important if you want it to be eyecatching. Cover (for the box art and rulebooks) artwork needs to be laid out in a manner that would catch your eye and isn't too cluttered, so that's another job for you there. You may or may not be involved in creating the illustrations and also the game components like the board and playing pieces, but if you're an illustrator and designer, you may just be doing both.

I know that my game would be looking like crap if I had no design ability, and I'd have to hire someone to lay it out and make it come together, and not have it look like just a bunch of random rules, pictures, and extra stuff thrown together in a burlap bag and beaten with a hammer.

FastLearner
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Graphic Design in board game design

Making the game attractive is an important part of the final production of a game, but one of the biggest roles of a graphic designer -- in hand with the game designer or editor/developer -- is to ensure the effective visual communication of information. There are plenty of very attractive games that are difficult to play because the user experience wasn't considered, and plenty of games that are pretty unattractive but in which the game state is very, very clearly communicated.

A good game graphic designer knows how to do both.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Graphic Design in board game design

I am getting clear here : )
And more questions:

-What things you should consider to design a good package? Is there any standard format for the package? We can skip the money factor a bit, pretend that I can afford everything (but still in a logic scale).

- About the materials for all the items, including the board and the pawn. What will do nice and professional?

- Iā€™m planning to make a board game for 10-year-old and above. And I think more visual is better than more verbal for the instruction (another reason I can make more graphic :D ) What do you think?

btw, isn't a rulebook placed inside the box? people can't open the box yet until they buy the game, right?

Best,
Anita

Johan
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Graphic Design in board game design

Hello

Graphic design is more or less important in different stages of the design process (at least for me). I have the following first stages in my process.

1) I start with an idea. It can be a theme, a goal, a mechanism or even a graphic picture.
2) I take paper and pencil and try to create a game by solving the problems with the players and components. The big questions are how should they interact with each other and how do the player wins.
3) Write down the basic idea in a bullet form and send the result on a first idea review.
4) Create the first prototype. The only important thing in this prototype is the mechanism and the gaol.
5) Play-test the first prototype.
6) Decide the overview of the graphic design.

At this stage it is the most important thing to do. The graphic design can effect everything from how the rules should be written to the naming of components and what components should be used.
The graphic design is a major part of the feel and look of the game.

I have also tried to start with the graphic design and tried to create game around it, but I failed.

// Johan

OldScratch
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Graphic Design in board game design

Sephire wrote:
btw, isn't a rulebook placed inside the box? people can't open the box yet until they buy the game, right?

Yes, that is true, but you don't want to skimp on the rulebook. It would be very disappointing for me to buy a game that looks great on the outside, only to get a rulebook that is poorly laid out, not very concise, and very plain. You could get away with it, but it may give the game (and maybe even the designer) a bad reputation.

Anonymous
Graphic Design in board game design

I am a graphic designer as well. Beyond the item list previously mentioned, which I think has been covered in good detail, I believe it is very important to talk about the intangible effects that good graphic design can bring to a game.

First and foremost, good graphic design creates appeal. Appeal is the invisible thing that makes one game stand out from a similar other. It's what makes you want to buy a game and helps to satisfy you while playing it. Appeal can be anything from a box cover that is very attractive to the board which has a greater role as it is the thing that you stare at for 1-2 hours or more at a time. Satisfaction, comes not only from the players that are playing and the tension created from the game mechanics, but also the feeling one gets from looking at the board or touching a piece of wood instead of plastic or handling a poker chip that is nicely weighted verses a cheap light plastic chip.

One other vital aspect that graphic design contributes is that of information display. When you think of it, games are nothing but information that demands interpritation and comprehension for good game play. Carefully balancing colors, values, scale and positioning of elements and information can contribute or detract from the way a game is played.

I recently redid the game Puerto Rico for myself in two various ways (the second way is still being worked on and finallized). Each can be viewed at
http://www.michaeldoyle.com/indexPuertoRico1.html
http://www.michaeldoyle.com/indexPuertoRico2.html

If you are familiar with the game, Puerto Rico, you can see that version 1 is similar in basic structure than the original. That is, each player gets a separate little board to play on. In the second version, which changes no game rules, the design calls for using one board and combining all the information so that it can be scanned in a glance rather than separately. This is a great example how the graphic designer can influence how the game is played. While it is exactly the same game ā€“ no new rules, same game mechanics, same tension ā€“ they have very different feels and, I would argue, a different way in which players view other players. Now go to http://www.boardgamegeek.com/imagegallery.php3?gameid=3076
Click on "view all images" in the left top corner. Here you can see the original game. Quite a difference. Again a different feel and different appeal. It is a good designer that can weigh the appropriateness of the look and feel of a game to create an appeal strategy that captures and holds people's emotions.

I hope this helps.

mike

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