The Principles of Design
Packaging Design. That’s what we do here. As members of this site, we participate in a hobby that involves the creation of package designs for video games. Believe it or not, package design is an art form, and an incredibly difficult one at that. In the combined space of the front and back side of a video game case you, as the designer, are attempting to convince the viewer that:
1) The game in their hands is a quality product
2) That they will find happiness and hours of fun from this game
3) The game is worth their hard-earned money.
You must incorporate design principles, business strategies, and appeal to human psychology. That is an incredibly tall order, one that few video game packages succeed in accomplishing. In this thread, you will find tips, tricks, and methods for creating the best possible packaging design. Let’s get started.
It is recommended in the world of art and design that you begin your design not on the computer, but on paper.
Paper gives your creativity more freedom of expression. Whereas on the computer you may spend hours choosing the correct font or color, the timeless pencil gives you the freedom to sketch and remove ideas at will.
In this process, you should let ideas flow naturally. A good rule of thumb is that your first idea will always be your worst. Take your time. You face no deadline. The only expectations to be met are your own, so make the best product that you can.
As you prepare your design, there are several aspects of your design that you need to consider.
How do you want your audience to feel? Should we be happy about the opportunities to interact with our friends that this game will offer us?
Should we feel concern for the characters facing a difficult journey?
Should we feel passionate about our quest to rescue a princess in distress?
Emotion is the most powerful motivator we possess, especially when it comes to purchasing a product. If we don’t feel a strong desire to play your game, we’re not going to buy the game. Whatever we should feel, it is your job to make us feel it. You need to design your package in such a way that you play our heartstrings like a virtuoso.
Last edited by TheKoopaDasher; 12-14-2011 at 07:08 PM.
Proper organization can make your design more appealing, your information more distinct, and your message more focused. This includes not only the placement of the items in your design, but also the fonts that you use and the color palette you choose.
The best way to ensure proper organization is to use a grid. This can easily be applied in most design applications. The grid allows you to compare the placement of items in your design with the location of other items.
Why is this useful? For four reasons. The first is Contrast. We are naturally wired to look for contrast or difference in a design. This can be achieved in many different ways. Size, location, color, font choice, all aspects of a design can feature Contrast. If you want the viewer to notice something, draw attention to it. Contrast the IMPORTANT words, so that the eye comes there FIRST.
Is your design about the triumph of good over evil? Make your hero the focal point, not the villain.
Trying your hand at typography design? Make sure the important words are highlighted, larger, or of a different style.
If your logo or text is centered, try placing your character to one side. Contrast adds an element of tension and surprise to the design that draws your eye.
Next is Repetition. You can make your design feel more cohesive simply by re-using the same elements. Something as simple as using the same font for both the logo and tagline will make your design feel more natural. Other options include repeating the use of certain characters, borders, or colors across the design. However, this should be a subtle aspect of the design.
Do not reuse the same art piece over and over, or the same character pose. Repetition should not interfere with the contrast of the design.
Then we have Alignment. This is a common aspect of all designs. You should not place your images, your text, or your boxes, borders, and logos randomly. Rather, each aspect of the design should subtly tie in to the other pieces in the design. If your text is placed at a certain level on one side, make sure that you place the text on the other side at the same location. If your logo is subtly tilted, consider giving your tagline the same subtle tilt.
Other options include aligning all elements on one side, or centering the elements across the design. Whatever alignment strategy you use, make sure that you Repeat it across the design, while still allowing for Contrast in the design to draw the eye of the viewer.
Finally, we have Proximity, or the location of items in the design. By changing the placement of characters in your design, you can indicate subtle relationships.
Characters placed together indicate that the characters are familiar with each other, and have a close relationship.
Characters on opposite sides are interpreted as being opponents or distant from one another.
Characters in the foreground are given more interest, and shown to be stronger than characters in the background. While characters that are larger in size are also seen as being more important, stronger, or more aggressive than other characters.
This applies to all aspects of the design, even text. By dividing your text into sub-groups, distinguished by font size, color, and proximity, you create contrast, and show that certain aspects of the text have more importance than other parts. For example, descriptions of your screenshots should not be placed near your descriptive text for the game. The descriptive text is more important in terms of the design.
Last edited by TheKoopaDasher; 12-14-2011 at 07:04 PM.
Color is one of the most important aspects of any design, but especially packaging design. As the designer, you want your product to appeal to the general viewer, while at the same time standing out from the crowd of similar designs. However, color cannot be chosen at random. You should choose your colors in a way that works well together. For instance, look at this color wheel.
Good designs make use of both harmony and contrast. Colors on opposite sides of the wheel, like Blue and Orange, or Green and Red, are Contrasting colors. They create tension in the design, a vivid juxtaposition that reels in the viewer.
However, too much contrast can become upsetting. For that reason, you should also use complementary colors, which appear near each other on the color wheel. Examples include Blue and Purple, Red and Orange, or Yellow and Green. These colors create a harmony in the design that makes the viewer feel happy, and at ease.
Other combinations of contrasting and complementary colors exist as well. Choosing colors that form a triangle in the color wheel, like Yellow, Red, and Blue create an almost childlike feel to the design.
Alternatively, a trio like Purple, Orange, and Green creates a much darker, richer, earthy tone that gives the design a more somber feel.
Another option is a quartet of contrasting and complementary colors. Rather than choose two contrasting colors, harmony can be improved by choosing colors on either side of the pair. For example, the combination of Violet and Turquoise, combined with Yellow and Crimson, creates both tension and harmony in the design.
Just as important to the design are the colors Black and White. A dark, deep color like Black can make bright colors appear to glow in contrast, but darker shades will disappear in the design.
At the same time, the use of White can make darker colors pop with contrast, but lighter tones will fade into the background. The effective use of Black and White can add contrast, as well as a useful base, to the other colors in your design.
Try to use colors that are common in your game of choice. The use of Red, Blue, and Yellow would appear strange in a Gears of War design, while Browns, Grays, and Blacks would distance the viewer from a Super Mario title.
Your design should remain focused on whatever color palette you choose to use. Deviation from the color palette creates confusion in the design, and ruins the cohesiveness of your idea.
Last edited by TheKoopaDasher; 12-14-2011 at 07:09 PM.
Simplification is the belief that any design can become more memorable and more effective as it becomes simplified. If you can concentrate your themes, ideas, and designs into a single aspect, your design will become much more effective. This style, taken to the extreme, is commonly referred to as Minimalism, but all designs can benefit from simplification.
Maybe you want to show the hardships of war for a Fire Emblem box. Is it necessary to show hundreds upon hundreds of soldiers rallying behind the main character?
Or could you simplify the idea, and show something different, that still gets the point across?
What if you want to show the chaos of a racing game? Is it necessary to show a track covered in racers, vehicles, and carnage?
Or could you simplify the design, and show the same chaos, but with less chaos in your design?
We say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but often one carefully chosen picture says more than a thousand others.
Last edited by TheKoopaDasher; 12-14-2011 at 06:42 PM.
Nice work, Koopa. Kudos for making such a quality contribution.
Whew. Adding in the images took longer than I thought. But it's DONE! Behold!
I thought this was a great read, and actually made me think about the way I make boxart, especially when it comes to color. An excellent post indeed.
The entire thing... as in, all of the text... is four pages long in Microsoft Word, with 11 pt font. Hopefully the addition of the images made it less boring, and gave new light to what I was saying.
I'd ask for this to be stickied.. but yeah..
Originally Posted by Mub
Awesome. The images really did help you get your point across. I've gotta rep you for this and I'm definetly gonna think about more things while making a design.
Congrats on being stickied. We should have more threads like this.
Thank you, I'll keep this in mind when I create something.
Great post! Good pointers! R u a graphic designer for a living?
PS - nothing wrong with commenting on old posts, huh?