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Subject: New mech card design, please critique! rss

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Shanen Opolis
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I'm trying out a borderless card to open it up and showcase more of the art.

Here is the original:


Here is the redesign:


Please let me know your honest opinions.
Thank you!
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Mike Windsor
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I like the one with the black border better (which was not my expectation). The black sets the work off nicely. I don't think I would feel the same about a white or silver border. I would also note that, although the art in the borderless card is bigger, you actually see more of the art on the card with the border (count rockets in the rocket pods).
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Shanen Opolis
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Yes, you see more art, because of the necessary bleed area when printing. The image is actually much larger, but I need a 1/4" on each side. That's easier to do when the border is black!
 
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Steven Tu
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I think the borderless is better for prettiness, but the bordered is more functional, though I think the borderless can be improved by linking them up so they form a more cohesive unit, with less background behind them. That whole section is very confusing.

Then the bottom of the card - that panel could be a bit more opaque - yes the art is cool but it shouldn't detract from legibility.

And that titles - it seems, again, bitty. That rough edges thing plus gradient doesn't work well with the art, which is also bitty. It all runs into each other.

I feel like a busy card art style needs a more solid card format design to not all seem like a big field of noise.

And personally I dislike white text with strokes, it looks cheap to me.

Hot dayum, great great art
 
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Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
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I like the icons/layout and such of the redesign better, but think that the card looks better with a border.
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Sebastián Koziner
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The borderless design make it look a lot more modern, go for that!
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Shanen Opolis
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Wow, definitely some differing opinions here, thank you!

Tuism, I agree with some of your points. I'm going to try a couple different things and post another revision tomorrow!
 
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Matt Smith
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I agree that the borderless makes it look more modern. I think it looks more unique (i.e. less like "oh, another deck building game card") without as well. I'd leave it off, for my $0.02.

Your ATK, EVA, and ARM are also lots clearer/easier to read on the borderless version.

The "SPD" is pretty darn tiny on both of them.

Great art and nice job overall!
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Ian O'Toole
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I like the borderless design way better, but you need to do more work to make the icons and text more legible.
 
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Kevin Jeffrey
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I like the black border better, however, I find the side icons and bottom portion of the border-less card more appealing. Fantastic artwork by-the-way.
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Shanen Opolis
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A subtle revision of the borderless design.

What do you guys think?
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Eric Etkin
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Shanenopolis wrote:
A subtle revision of the borderless design.

What do you guys think?


Shane, don't listen to these guys. Borderless, all the way!

Seriously - I love the maxi-look of the full image. Love it. About the only thing I'd advise looking at is your stat circles.. i think they blend a little bit too much into the background of the art and don't pop like they probably should. They look nice in terms of not distracting from the art, but as easy-reference, IMO they need to be more distinct.
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Shanen Opolis
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MOTHDevil wrote:

About the only thing I'd advise looking at is your stat circles.. i think they blend a little bit too much into the background of the art and don't pop like they probably should. They look nice in terms of not distracting from the art, but as easy-reference, IMO they need to be more distinct.


I was thinking about making each of the 3 stat circles a different color, maybe, but it felt tacky to me. All 3 have similar gameplay functionality, so I wanted them to be uniform but distinct.

Here's the same card with a different mech for perspective. They will "pop" differently depending on the card art.

 
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Eric Etkin
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I'm thinking the SPD stat is the one that's getting lost the most, though they all sort of fade into the background still.

I might have time to play around with a minor tweak idea when I get home tonight. I'll post again later if it's... worth posting.
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Shanen Opolis
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I agree the black splash gets kind of lost on all of them, more-so with dark art. But that black grunge is really just about making the numbers stand out from the art. If the numbers are readable, then the black is doing its job, whether it can be distinguished or not.

I think the only thing you could do is put a plate behind the whole lot of them, but I that would detract from the artwork.
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Steven Tu
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I still say, make a new device to contain all the stats in one strip, or similar. As loose elements (as much as you're trying to make them "solid"), they're just getting lost in your gorgeous art.

GORGEOUS ART.

I really feel that your title bars blend right into the rest of your art, again. I would really look for more solid interface (for that's what they are ) designs than the distressed bitty broken stuff you have now.
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Jon Baxter
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Borderless, let me know when to send you all my money, very nice cards.
 
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Shanen Opolis
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jgbaxter wrote:
Borderless, let me know when to send you all my money, very nice cards.


Consider it done! ;-)
 
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Shanen Opolis
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Tuism wrote:
I still say, make a new device to contain all the stats in one strip, or similar. As loose elements (as much as you're trying to make them "solid"), they're just getting lost in your gorgeous art.

GORGEOUS ART.

I really feel that your title bars blend right into the rest of your art, again. I would really look for more solid interface (for that's what they are ) designs than the distressed bitty broken stuff you have now.


I appreciate your feedback, but I'm kind of committed to the grunge motif. My very first design was more straight-edged, sci-fi metallic panels. It seemed very generic and uninteresting. Vector grunge is not a common design style in card games, least of which in a science fiction milieu. I find the contrast very captivating, and I'm definitely sticking with it :-)

The graphic elements are separated in order to highlight the art. If I put them together on a plate, the plate itself would be needlessly blocking the art. To avoid it I would press those elements together in order to minimize the presence of the plate. Bunching everything together is another design practice I wanted to avoid. In this card, everything has its place. The important information, the numbers, are large and isolated, as meant to be read across the table by the other player.

The title is meant to blend in with the background. The card name pops (that white with black borders you don't like ;-)) but the colored plate behind it is meant to be unobtrusive. It's also meant to be grungy and gritty like the actual card art, so it blends well. Maybe it's the color you don't like? The gray is just the color of the mech card plates. If you take a look at the other card types on the website, http://arsenalarena.com/about/gameplay/ , you'll see that each of the 6 card types has its own color, and I think they stand out pretty well.

So, to summarize, the distressed bitty broken stuff is staying. It's like the damaged paint on a combat mech, and that's kind of the point. But you're right, isn't the artwork beautiful? I found a great bunch of artists for this stuff :-)
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Kevin Green
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Maybe make the SPD a gray or blue, again bordered by black as the red ones?
 
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Steven Tu
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Personally... Because we're now veering into that territory I think that doing something different for the sake of being different doesn't produce better things, but this is now personal preference so that's cool

Overall, to be dead honest, there's nothing intrinsically *wrong* with the design as is, everything can be read if you know what and where to look, and it fulfils all the usual tenets of card design - info on the left edge so it's visible at a glance in a hand fan. So that's all fine.

So if you're fine with fine, then it's all good My points are just that tiny bit of legibility assist, which it may not need anyway

Oh just one last thing though, that "light wheeled mobility" feels awkward. Can it not integrate better into other things? Like under the title, or above card description text, or with an icon at the bottom of the card content text... Or something?
 
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Shanen Opolis
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Tuism wrote:


Oh just one last thing though, that "light wheeled mobility" feels awkward. Can it not integrate better into other things? Like under the title, or above card description text, or with an icon at the bottom of the card content text... Or something?


I know what you're talking about, here, and I've tried putting it a few different places. The truth is, that data is mostly used during the deck building process before play, and but for a few exceptions, is ignored during play. The problem is that there are three card types that have relevant gameplay information that must occupy the same space. So it's kind of toss up between noticeability and unobtrusiveness.

These values are called "aspects" and are a little different from "keywords" (speaking from a rules standpoint), so I kind of want to keep them separate.

That being said... not every card has this information on it! And on maybe 70% of the cards, there is no black box there. So with this in mind, perhaps the black box is just noticeable enough to catch your eye only when it matters ;-)

I am still exploring, though, so I welcome the suggestions. All of these elements are illustrator vectors and easy to manipulate.
 
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Shanen Opolis
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kmancheese wrote:
Maybe make the SPD a gray or blue, again bordered by black as the red ones?


That's not a bad idea. I think I'll try a swirl of blue behind the big speed number on the next revision.

Thanks!
 
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Eric Etkin
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Not sure if it's a huge improvement, but I think the stats are a little more obvious this way:

 
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dennis bennett
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Shanenopolis wrote:
MOTHDevil wrote:

About the only thing I'd advise looking at is your stat circles.. i think they blend a little bit too much into the background of the art and don't pop like they probably should. They look nice in terms of not distracting from the art, but as easy-reference, IMO they need to be more distinct.


I was thinking about making each of the 3 stat circles a different color, maybe, but it felt tacky to me. All 3 have similar gameplay functionality, so I wanted them to be uniform but distinct.

Here's the same card with a different mech for perspective. They will "pop" differently depending on the card art.



I like it! great! Artwork is good and card design/layout works well. You obviously know what you're doing so just go with your gut and don't worry to much about what other people are saying.

I'm personally not a big fan of all the textures, smudges and all that stuff, it makes the cards look a bit too busy. I'd be interested to see what a more reduced/minimalist direction would look like, but that's just an idea and not something i would think is absolutely necessary.

The only thing i'd worry about is readability and size of the fonts you're using. But if you've done a test print and they're good i guess that won't be an issue.

great work!
 
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