The Deck of Stories is a tool designed to help storytellers find inspiration whether they're working on a creative writing project or their favorite RPG. Each card features easy-to-use story prompts complete with tips on how to use them. The Deck of Stories was brought to Kickstarter by 1985 Games in collaboration with Critical Dice TM. In addition to the Deck of Stories itself, several supplementary products were made available during the Kickstarter Campaign.
We partnered with the 1985 Games leadership to bring the Deck of Stories to life. The core visual design was taken from concept to pre-press, and was expanded to include a full line of products spanning 2 different hanging tab tuck boxes, a traditional 2 piece box, 7 unique booster packs, and over 300 unique cards. All print files were designed and developed with the intent to allow for rapid revisions and mass manufacturing. Our collaboration continued onto Kickstarter, where we facilitated the creation of dozens of graphics and mockups to showcase the product line to potential backers.
“In the board game and role-playing space, the importance of separating the design and data is paramount where collaboration is required.” — Aron Murch
Three unique card templates were designed, each serving a distinctly different purpose. In the over-all design of the templates, maintaining consistent design elements was crucial to developing the visual identity of the product line. The gold filigree and parchment background can be seen carried across all card variations as well as most of the product packaging. At the same time, cards and product variants must be easily identifiable. With this in mind, the configuration of design elements was heavily modified between each use to create clear differentiation without straying too far from the core visual identity. By the same token, additional colours were implemented across all product packaging variants to create a visual distinction that can be seen at a glance.
When developing a product in the gaming space, where numerous iterations and revisions are expected to occur, the creation of a robust data pipeline becomes crucial to ensuring that game development staff are able to continually iterate content without creating additional overhead through numerous manual graphics revisions. To allow for more seamless development, the project's tech-stack was expanded to utilize google sheets and illustrator data sets to create a data pipeline in which written content and visual design are not intrinsically bound. This allowed 2H Media to begin iterating on design concepts independently of Critical Dice TM and 1985 Games' continued development of written content.
All print files were developed with a focus on creating flexibility in the final deliverables. Print files were prepared on a tight timeline to allow for pre-Kickstarter prototyping. At the same time, fonts, colours, and print layers were configured such that a variety of alternate files could be supplied to meet a range of manufacturing requirements. Additionally, direct communication channels were created to ensure that evolving manufacturing requirements could be met without significantly impacting the project scope.
Card designs were created with a bias towards usability. More complex design elements found on product packaging and card backs were simplified for the card faces to allow the information to stand out prominently and immediately to the end-user.
Deck of Stories was created by story tellers for story tellers, and was live on Kickstarter at time of writing. 2H Media created branded text headers, example graphics, and even branded social media icons to create a campaign that was fully immersive and allowed the product to jump off the page.