Product design & packaging
Creating packaging that commands attention on shelves, and DnD reference cards that give Game Masters the information they need at a glance.
Colin Sproule and Evan Gillespie are friends who play RPG games together in Calgary. They are active members of the RPG community and passionate about improving their games. Together they created and run monstercards.ca, a free creature statistics website for DnD players. Thousands of people use it every week.
They wanted to build on their success, usage data, and user feedback by branching out into the physical world with printed monster reference cards. They knew what monsters and information to include, and they had an amazing illustrator, Thea Kent, to partner with. Their plan was to put the project on Kickstarter to raise the necessary funds.
The challenge was how to fit such a large amount of information on each card, in a way that made it easy for Game Masters to find what they were looking for quickly. A mockup of the finished cards was essential to support their fundraising campaign.
Additionally, Colin and Evan had never created a print-based product before, and weren’t sure how to create a distinctive package that will make the cards stand out and sell on store shelves.
Atom Studio worked closely with Evan and Colin to ensure we understood how the cards are used, and what’s important. We then experimented with several possible configurations before arriving at one that strikes the right balance. Critical stats are big and bold, and key information is always in the same place on every card. A bold combination of
midnight blue and carmine red ensured crisp legibility and contrast.
We also eschewed the typical ‘medieval look’ that defines so many DnD products, and instead went with modern typefaces and a clean design. For the package, we decided on a dark design for drama and impact.
Atom Studio chose the rest of the colour palette and worked with Thea to separate each of her illustrations into two colours, giving a striking, fun, and graphic look to each monster.
While Evan & Colin didn’t want to create an entire brand identity, Atom Studio helped them come up with a logo and brand that gives a nod to their grassroots beginnings, and differentiates their product from competitors’.
Monster card launched with 215% of their funding goal on Kickstarter, and has had continued success in stores.
I’m so happy that we chose Atom to design our product and packaging. The final design is not only much better than we had before, it’s better than I thought was possible. Atom exceeded our expectations by so much that I have actually pulled my own product off a store shelf to look closer before I realized it was mine.Evan Gillespie
Evan & Colin’s / Monster Cards
We don’t waste any space on these cards. Each statistic, guideline and note is carefully typeset based on the way Game Masters use the cards. The illustrations by Thea Kent were separated into two colours and adapted to work with our chosen palette.
Choosing the right creature illustration for the front cover was important. We went with something bold and quirky. The product is easily identified, and on the back, people get a chance to preview some of the great cards within. Meticulous attention to prepress details ensured the job printed perfectly.
- Art direction: James Jensen
- Design: Matthew Jacula, James Jensen
- Illustration: Thea Kent
- Logo illustration: Louisa Jensen