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Subject: Looking for Graphic Design Feedback rss

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Greg
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So I've just been sent a first pass at the card design for Scandinavia and the World: A Heap of Trouble. I've got a notion of what I'd like to feedback to the designer, but wanted to get some broader opinions first. What do you think:

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Jesse Fletcher
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I like the style and look, the only think I have an issue with is how the information is broken up.

You have "America" with a flag in the banner with one thing and the person in another, should the be the same? Or does "Oil" link only to the "Trigger Happy" subset of America? (this is probably just my ignorance of the game showing through)

You have a light grey boarder around the flags, I would get rid of it and just make the flags the same size of the banner.

Get rid of the light gray lines, you shouldn't need them if your information is organised. Do you need to have the bar at the top of the card? If not I would have the picture of the thing at the top, the bar in the middle, the flavor text below the bar and the linked items at the bottom.

Take the backgrounds and boxes right to the edges

That's my personal take, I don't know the game so some of my changes may not makes sense or work in the context of the game itself.
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Greg
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Thanks for the feedback. To an extent I was looking for what stood out to people who didn't already know how to play since information always seems obvious to someone who already knows what to look for

There are two types of card in the game: Characters and items. The characters want particular items, some characters want more than one thing and some things are wanted by more than one person. So America wants Oil (and also the Declaration of Independence) and Oil is wanted by America, Russia, Norway and North Pole.

Matching the flags to the banner sounds like a good shout, or at least having the border match.

The edges are partly my fault for copy-pasting the images from their original files into one image so I could upload to BGG easily. On the graphic designer's file there isn't that white space.
 
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Greg
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I suppose strictly the flags are entirely superfluous, we could get rid of them entirely with no loss of game play. Does it make sense as decoration (or something interesting for more obscure countries) or should we lose 'em?
 
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Alex Stanmyer
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I like the flags; I think it makes it easy to identify which country the characters are from at a quick glance. I'd vote to keep them.

I agree with Jesse on having a bit of confusion concerning the oil symbol on the character card vs. the items at first glance. Again though, that could be because I'm not familiar with the rules. Perhaps you could include a "desired" header above the desired resources? Though your design is already so clean, that might just clutter it up. Someone who has played the game could probably give better feedback about that.

I also agree with Jesse about the grey lines. You definitely don't need them right now.

Overall though I like it! Clean, colorful, and easy to read!
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Bojan Prakljacic
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I'm not gonna comment on design, I'll just show you a mock-up version of the Queen character card that I have made. And it didn't took me too long.

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Jesse Fletcher
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Keep the flags, most people associate and understand what things are visually before we read anything and the flags are long established symbols for those countries. It will make for faster identification.
 
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Luke Denby
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Bojan's take pretty much does what I'd be looking for. While a lot of white space isn't bad the way it was organized just seems like it all floated on the card with no real structure. Took it from pretty bland to something with more character.
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Dave Schroeder
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My one addition to the above comments would be to change your font or your letter spacing. The initial capital letters in the current font(especially the A's and N's) are not easy to read. It's not a huge deal since you won't need to read the text too often, but peering across the table for that effect that you don't quite remember could be troublesome.
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Greg
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Flags are looking good.

I like Bojan's Australia card more than I like our Australia card - but I'm not sure that I like the design more for the game as a whole. I'd have these questions:

How does it stand up when the subtitle is more than 5 characters?
How does it stand up when a character wants 2 items?
How does it stand up when the shape of the country that the character is from doesn't nicely fill the box without overlapping the desired item?

That being said, just because it couldn't be used as is doesn't mean that there aren't lessons to take from it. It is a damn sight more attractive than what we're working with at the minute.

So what's the general takeaway lesson there? That we need something to tie the card together more completely?

I'm also not sure how we need to relate to the source material. I want the game to be enjoyable for people who've not read the webcomic (yes we have permission from the IP holders before anyone asks), but at the same time don't want to alienate any of its fans. Decisions like font and background are partly driven by that, but there may come a point that they have to go. That feels tricky to balance.
 
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Bojan Prakljacic
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All those questions can be resolved when designer has everything on his disposal in advance, so he/she can work with it having the picture as a whole in his/her mind. Since graphic are vector based everything can be scaled and set functionally. Those are challenges that good designer will overcome.

What you have are very simple characters done in line-work with plain colors (no shading whatsoever), basically clip-art images. Putting them on the plain white background because they are from the web comic that looks the same might seam logical, but in this case (my opinion) not good as a whole design.

If I would walk by the table where you are playing your game, I would take a look, make a 'meh' face and just kept walking. Art must 'pop' sometimes. It must feed your imagination and your eyes as you take a glance at it.

I can explain to you why I've done some things on the mock-up, so at least you can think about it and take some advice from it:

First, the moment I saw your simple drawn characters I've decided they must have some kind of background behind them, so I can do something so they can 'pop' out of the background image, out of the card. You will notice that outline around the princes is thicker then any other lines on her, whit white glow to emphasize that thick black line from the background image. Same for the items.
I've used very abstract and not much 'busy' background and after seeing how the flag is blue, decided to go with pale yellow, which would make continent immediately distinguishable because of slight complementary colors. Using a continent instead of the plain flag was my 'gut feeling'. It just seamed right, was blending in the background correctly. Some touch of red to emphasize the important things (like name of the character and card header) was good for the design as a whole because princes has that red crown on her head...

Finally, I had to do something so players can relate to when trying to guess what's on the table. Regular playing cards have that white space around the central image, and that enlarged Q of the queen helped to'explain' that this is a playing card, not someone business card forgotten on the table.

So, that was my whole though process behind every decision done during the making of the mock-up. Might not suit your needs, but it can help you with getting some ideas of your own.

If I would had to make 100 cards based on my design, they would still have some things that would be on the same spot:
Character and country name in the top left corner, gender in the top right, character image slightly shifted to the right with items in front of it (multiple items - one under another), card header in the red (or some other color stripe), card text on the bottom, black on white.

So, all those 100 cards would have same design, but different things on them would make them unique.
Whenever I can tell a 'little story' about those things and put them so they work better on the card, I brake that mold of the strict design for every card a bit, but not too much.
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