Daniel Solis
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Hi Everybody!

I just wanted to give you a head's up that I'll be teaching an online course via SkillShare about by techniques for laying out game cards. I've been doing graphic design for the tabletop industry for about ten years, from RPGs to card games.

In that time I have learned a fair amount about how to lay out cards efficiently using including InDesign's DataMerge and Google Doc's spreadsheets. Now I'd like to teach you my techniques!

This series of videos begins with the basics of prototyping, then eases you into the deeper tricks of the trade. Whether you're a just starting out or you're a professional looking for some new tips, you'll pick up something new in this class.

We'll start by laying out deck of standard playing cards, then move on to a more complex eurogame and CCG layout. You'll also learn how to dissect the cards from your favorite game to find out how you can make your own cards like the pros.

Here's a direct link to enroll. The series begins July 28. I hope you enjoy it!

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Andrew Tullsen
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Will it mainly show how to lay out cards, or also how to do the graphic design too?
 
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Daniel Solis
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This class will focus on how to lay out cards in InDesign efficiently, using spreadsheets and InDesign's DataMerge functionality. If you've ever tried prototyping a card game one card at a time, you know how much of a hassle it can be. This class will make the process much easier. I'll also touch some basics of graphic design like the best size for text and iconography.

Does that answer your question? I wasn't sure how you distinguished layout from graphic design.
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Chris Ferejohn
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I think he's asking whether it's just the mechanics of how to do it (which it sounds like you are focusing on) as opposed to usability considerations of the layout itself (e.g. if you have 5 pieces of information on a card, how should you lay them out so people process them in the order you hope, etc.).
 
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Max Holliday
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Really layout is just part of Graphic Design... having a good eye for layout is often the difference between an Illustrator and a Designer. An Illustrator can make great icons and could make great looking cards but the layout could be terrible and make the game tortuous to play. My favorite example of this is ThunderStone vs TSAdvanced. TS hard great looking cards but were very hard to read/use until you acclimate yourself to the cards. The cards are much easier to read in TSAdvanced (although still not perfect whistle ). Graphic Design is the meeting point between those two disciplines (Design/Illustration) it is the ability to make good looking icons and design a good layout to go with it. It is about balance, young grasshopper...

As for the class... You should really look into taking it, if you want to make better prototypes and maybe work as a GD in any field. Indesign is a critical tool that can shave hours off your work load if used correctly.

Max Holliday
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Chris Ferejohn
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Yeah, I'm a professional (software UI) designer and complete crap as an illustrator/visual designer. I understand how people think, but colors, fonts, font weights, etc are just a sea of arbitrary-seeming decisions to me. That's not to say I can't say "that looks ugly, that looks nice", but when confronted with ugly (often by my own hand) I am not good at making it look nicer.

I always think the best example of this is Glory to Rome. The illustration is...challenging at best. The design, on the other hand, is really good - everything on the cards is really clear and in a logical place that allows the cards and the playmat to work together. Thunderstone is an excellent example of the opposite problem (I hear Marvel Legendary is too).
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Derek H
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gobi wrote:
This class will focus on how to lay out cards in InDesign efficiently, using spreadsheets and InDesign's DataMerge functionality. If you've ever tried prototyping a card game one card at a time, you know how much of a hassle it can be. This class will make the process much easier. I'll also touch some basics of graphic design like the best size for text and iconography.
I'm unlikely to be an InDesign user; as I already know and use nanDeck. Perhaps you could consider a follow-up at some time for using this tool, as it more affordable ("free"!) for us amateur designers!
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Chris Ferejohn
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gamesbook wrote:
gobi wrote:
This class will focus on how to lay out cards in InDesign efficiently, using spreadsheets and InDesign's DataMerge functionality. If you've ever tried prototyping a card game one card at a time, you know how much of a hassle it can be. This class will make the process much easier. I'll also touch some basics of graphic design like the best size for text and iconography.
I'm unlikely to be an InDesign user; as I already know and use nanDeck. Perhaps you could consider a follow-up at some time for using this tool, as it more affordable ("free"!) for us amateur designers!
Given that you know how to use the tool, that sounds like a job for, well, you.
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Gary Simpson

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Awesome Daniel! I'm going to be teaching a course on Illustration so you'll have to tell me how well it goes.
 
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Daniel Solis
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All correct assessments about the differences between illustration and graphic design. Graphic design itself is too big a subject contain in just one small tutorial series, I'm mainly going to be focusing on fundamentals and actual practical prototyping tips.
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Daniel Solis
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Just a quick bump with news that Grant Rodiek is teaching a card game design course on SkillShare as well. How's that for a double-whammy?
 
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Derek H
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cferejohn wrote:
gamesbook wrote:
gobi wrote:
This class will focus on how to lay out cards in InDesign efficiently, using spreadsheets and InDesign's DataMerge functionality. If you've ever tried prototyping a card game one card at a time, you know how much of a hassle it can be. This class will make the process much easier. I'll also touch some basics of graphic design like the best size for text and iconography.
I'm unlikely to be an InDesign user; as I already know and use nanDeck. Perhaps you could consider a follow-up at some time for using this tool, as it more affordable ("free"!) for us amateur designers!
Given that you know how to use the tool, that sounds like a job for, well, you.
Unlikely, but thanks for the suggestion.

What I was trying to say was: if you could split this in two - first focusing on graphic design for cards; and second on the example of one possible tool that could be used ... then easier for those of us who already have access to (NOTE: not necessarily experts in) other tools, could adapt the advice accordingly.
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Daniel Solis
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The first video will cover the basics of design, for sure. But alas, the bulk of the series will be focused on InDesign stuff.
 
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Sam Mercer
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Looking forward to hearing how it goes Daniel
 
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Jared Beiswenger
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This looks great. I'd love to participate if it were not for other financial obligations...
 
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Stacie Winters
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Will these videos be downloadable or do they have to be watched at a certain time?

edit:: nevermind I read more on the Skillshare website. It answered my question.

I really would love to take this class as I have some ideas for games using cards but money is just tight right now. Knowing that I would be able to enroll pretty much anytime and get access to the videos whenever after enrollment is really cool.
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Diz Hooper
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Is there any software that needs to be bought?
 
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thdizzy wrote:
Is there any software that needs to be bought?
One presumes InDesign. I think Adobe lets you do a monthly fee for software now and you can get the first month free, so you should be ok w/ a trial.
 
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Daniel Solis
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Indeed, the class will mostly be occupied with InDesign tutorials covering the DataMerge functionality and basic paragraph styles. We may also dip into a bit of Photoshop and Illustrator.
 
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Daniel Solis
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Here's a preview clip from the first lesson! The majority of the series will be a screencast, so you won't have to look at my mug so much. This just goes over some of the basic considerations of card design.

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Bram Verbiest
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I've prototyped a game with almost 1000 cards, all done manually in Illustrator. Wished I had taken the time to learn InDesign now
Enrolled as I obviously need more efficiency
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Daniel Solis
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Whoa! Yeah, you definitely need this class. Geez, I can't even imagine.
 
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gobi wrote:
Whoa! Yeah, you definitely need this class. Geez, I can't even imagine.
I wanted them to look good and I thought it would be best to create them in Illustrator. Yes it was robotstyle-work most of the time but I'm still happy with the results though. But for future prototypes obviously need a lesson in efficiency
Great course btw, watched about 10 vids so far.
 
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Daniel Solis
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More videos to come! I sent out a post to the class asking for requests for more lessons.
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