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BGG News editor W. Eric Martin exhibits signs of obsessive completeness and complete obsessiveness – and invites you to join him in this fruitless, yet satisfying quest
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BGG Style Guide: One Trick to Posting Better Images – Eliminate White Space

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
I see a lot of images in my role as BGG News guy, whether sent directly from publishers, in press releases, or on websites, and many of them feature the same problem: too much white space.

Why is white space bad? Because white space equals lack of game-related imagery, and when an image is viewed at thumbnail size – which is often the case on BGG – then the game itself looks tiny and adrift in a cloud. Here's one example from a press release I received via email:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Thankfully Cryptozoic Entertainment goes through the trouble of including both a full cover shot and a 3D box shot, thus allowing people like me to choose the image that will work best on BGG – that being the image most visible at thumbnail size while also being a decent size for those who want to view it at medium. (Why not upload both boxes? Because they effectively provide the same content, but with one (after cropping) being slightly tilted and surrounded by meaningless white space. Better to have less noise on the game page. As an added bonus, I don't have to go through the effort of cropping the image with the 3D box to remove most of the white space.)

(Additional side note: While flat images work best for BGG and its omnipresent thumbnail images, 3D images work best for advertisements both online and in print.)

Here's another example of a 3D image versus a flat cover image:

Board Game: SUTAKKU
From gallery of W Eric Martin

Subtle difference? Yes, but why cede ground to white space when you can instead dominate that space with your game box. Take full advantage of the ground given to you. This next example makes the difference clearer:

Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Hunt for Gollum
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Hunt for Gollum

Let's ignore the terrible misaligned punchhole on the tab at the top of the weirdly digitally-generated box and instead notice that one box looks larger than the other, making that image more recognizable at a quick glance.

Flat vs. 3D cover images isn't the only area in which one can be vigilant about eliminating the void. Here's the original image (600x600 pixels) of the logo for a publisher that's debuting in 2012:

Board Game Publisher: Frost Forge Games

Looks pretty good, right? Nice and clean – everything clear. Now let's see that same image at thumbnail size:

Board Game Publisher: Frost Forge Games

Still visible and clear, but what if you had cropped much of the white border from the original image? Now let's compare the thumbnails:

Board Game Publisher: Frost Forge Games
From gallery of W Eric Martin

Maybe the difference isn't much, but I can see it and I'm sure you can, too. The less white space used in an image, the larger and crisper the important stuff will be.


On a mostly unrelated topic, I thought I'd share these two images from a certain publisher's PR department, the first being for The Game of Life: Adventures Card Game:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

And the second being for Cluedo: The Card Game:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Now let's view them side-by-side:

From gallery of W Eric Martin

*Sigh* – lazy, lazy, lazy...
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