9 March 2014 | 45 Comments
Today I want to talk about an unheralded element of game design that can have a significant impact on a Kickstarter project: card frames.
You know from experience and from other KS Lessons that art has a huge impact on a tabletop game project. What I’ve come to discover, though, is that if you have great art in an poorly designed card frame, the art is overshadowed by the card frame.
However, the converse is also true: a great card frame can help people overlook mediocre art. Not that you should settle for mediocre art. But you may not even know you have mediocre art before it’s too late. Having a great card frame will draw in backers and give you a chance to hire a better artist.
Thus I would like to posit that if you have a limited budget to spend on art and design pre-Kickstarter, high up on your priority list should be the card frames. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $300 on a card frame, depending on the artist.
Here’s what the final summer visitor card frames looked like after my graphic designer worked on them. There’s more texture to the frame.
However, here’s something I learned over the last year: For a truly great card frame, you need to combine the efforts of a graphic designer and an illustrator. Sometimes they’re the same person; sometimes they’re not. See the following:
This is the result of my graphic designer, Christine Bielke, collaborating with my artist, Beth Sobel, to create card frames for the advanced visitor cards in Tuscany.
Here’s another example from Tuscany from artist Dann May. I would say that Dann is one of the premier card frame artists out there (he does much more than card frames too). This is a papa card:
The takeaway? Hire a professional illustrator and designer to create a truly beautiful, functional card frame. It will be some of the best pre-Kickstarter money you spend.
What are some of your favorite card frames in games?