"...make it look valuable by making it look valuable."
From a very early stage in development we knew that the visual design of our game was going to be just as important as how it played. We knew the first interaction gamers were gonna have with Destined Legend was the look. Even though we should know better than to judge a book by its cover, we alway do, whether we are aware of it or not. And I think to a certain extent, thats just a part of being human. Its the same reason we plant flowers in our gardens. We like pretty things. Can you blame us?
Because of this, (as well as me being a bachelor of fine arts,) design took an equal footing with the gameplay. The first fruit of this train of thought was the artwork. We brought on the uber-talented Scott Ferguson and Cari Corene to breath some seriously epic life into Destined Legends, and they have successfully made DL a force to be reckoned with (at least artistically.)
Arguably the biggest burden for artistic success lay upon the card design and layout. After all, they are the “main product” of this project. As we developed the game, we kept iterating and evolving the design of the cards. Gameplay mechanics would get added that would radically change the layout, forcing me to rethink certain parts of the cards. We officially have 11 different versions of the cards. You can actually take a look back on the previous 10 version on our tumblr blog. It's been a truly incredible process, designing these cards over the past 2 years, and I'm beyond proud to finally present you with our final card design.
I’ve chosen to highlight a few key aspects of the card designs and why they are an improvement upon the current version (used in the beta.)
I knew the very first thing you want to know about the card that you’re holding is the card type. As in, whether it is a weapon, creature, item, etc. Also the element of the card took a much more “prideful” placement, as development progressed, so I made sure to really make the element pop. I made sure to make that much more visible, and much more prominent by making the “molding” in the corners more pronounced and by using the brightest colors on the card to highlight them.
When we began to get the final art pieces in, we realized that we need to really showcase them on the cards. As you may have noticed in the Sabercat card below, we tightened up our card design even further to maximize the incredible artwork.
The colors felt a bit too stale before. Also, the grey did not print like we were hoping. One thing you will definitely notice as you look back at version 1 through 10, is that they all share a common design ideology. They all use flat colors, and minimalist design. This worked great until we got in the final artwork and realized how the current design wasn’t quite stacking up.
Finally I decided to the thing I was telling myself I would never do for DL, use gradients. Now before a cold shiver goes down your spine, there actually is a right way to use gradients. I’m reminded of one of my favorite hobbies, baking. In baking, you almost always need to use “a pinch of salt.” You may have asked yourself at some point, “why salt? This is a sweet dish.” That is because salt isn't used to make things “salty.” Salt is used to make something taste more like itself. Thats why its a popular ingredient with chocolate-based or caramel-based desserts. It punches up the flavor of caramel and chocolate.
Gradients are like Salt. You only need to use a pinch, but it makes whatever color you’re using that much more vibrant. If you look at the comparison shots above between the beta and final versions of our “Masamune” weapon card, you’ll see what I mean. The red used in both cards are the same hue, but the gradient used in the lower half of the card make that color pop that much more on the finals. There is also a very slight gradient in the right hand column. It simply makes the tops of those shapes more pronounced.
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The Deco Factor
The company isn’t called Decobot for no reason. Art Deco has always been my favorite design style and a huge influence in everything I do. Art Deco gives everything such a grand and powerful stature. I wanted to interject my love for Deco architecture in these cards. It is in the aforementioned “moldings” in the top corners of the cards, used to house the card type and element. They also help frame the artwork below it very nicely. It’s a very subtle peppering, but makes all the difference. That, combined with the tall fonts give this franchise a very distinct design language that I’m very proud of.
All of the final design elements came together quite nicely. My working concept for theses was "marble and ivory inlaid with gems." It follows the mentality of make it look valuable by making it look valuable. They look even better in person and I can’t wait to get them into your hands! Enjoy our extended gallery of detail shots below.
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