Dominion: Promotional Image project

For this project, I was tasked with coming up with a concept for a Video Game and to then create 2 original items of promotional material for it. The aim of the project as a whole was to examine the relationship between words and images in digital graphics for Video Games, as well as Graphic Design in general. The concept I came up with is a side-scrolling Brawler, set in an alternative history Napoleonic France. The setting sounds complicated, but it is basically set just after the fall of Napoleon, and the remaining leaders of Europe form an oppressive republic in an effort to unify the continent once and for all.

“Dominion” is set in a world just after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. The remaining superpowers of Europe have combined to form the “Republic of Europa”, a Fascist state, covering all previous lands as well as their conquests. With Europa still mustering for revenge against France, they have turned previously sovereign nations into  police states, crushing any opposition to their rule. The people of France have not taken kindly to this, lashing back with resistance groups targeting key governmental positions and establishments in a vicious insurgency. Europa has tightened its grip on France, slowly strangling the fight out of the people. It is the player’s job to fight for France’s freedom.

After coming up with the concept, I began to gather related material, such as art and graphic design from the early 19th century and other Video Game box art. The mood boards are displayed below.

Mood Boards-01

Art and graphics from the 19th century/in Neoclassical style

Mood Boards-02

Box art and promotional art from various games

Mood Boards-03

Box art and promotional art from various games

Mood Boards-04

Images of British Redcoat soldiers

Mood Boards-05

Scenes of rebellion from the 18th/19th century

 

Having researched art styles from era, styles of uniform, and layouts of other box art, I needed to decide on an art style from the project. I could have chosen the box art to be a Neoclassical painting, but I felt it would be difficult to have a finished product that didn’t feel cluttered.   When looking for inspiration for the art style, I looked at historical similarities to the games plotline. Throughout history, especially during the first half of the 20th century, there was a sharp rise in political radicalization, due to frustration at current regimes or national circumstances (e.g. 1930’s Germany or the Russian revolution in 1918). The new regimes that were formed when the old establishments were overthrown, for example the Fascist and Communist/Socialist movements focused intensely on production and manufacturing, whether through agriculture, or industrialization. During the 1910s and 20s industrialization began to impact culture. Production and manufacturing became a way of life for these regimes, and a new style of art was created: Art Deco. As Art Deco was formed indirectly as a result of political and industrial idealisms and movements, I thought there was a good comparison between the government of Europa in “Dominion”, and those of the early 20th century. Art Deco also finds its origin in France, making it even more ideal for my game concept. To create effective and brand-worthy promotional material, there needs to be design guidelines which I will follow throughout production. As a result, I laid out a design specification about what direction I should proceed in. For the characters displayed, any enemies shown will be dressed as British redcoats, and the Hero or any rebels in general will be shown in French military uniforms, or in common clothing.   For the background, I will use a vibrant scarlet red, a light cream, and navy blue to simulate the French Tricolore. In terms of how the stripes are positioned, they should be either slanted in a negative gradient, or in the shape of an up-turned chevron. The chevron shape is military in fashion naturally, and has been used to show rank in the military for centuries. The negative gradient is if I want to generate a “show-off” scenario. The whole game concept is based tackling the power controlling you, so having the “enemy” on the left on a gradient, and the hero down on the right, it will simulate that idea nicely.

Market Deco

Market Deco Font

The typeface I have chosen for the logo and key words, such as taglines, is “Market Deco”. It is a Sans Serif font that is heavily reminiscent of the Art Deco era. It should be used in either a dark grey, or in a light cream. This should suit and contrast the red/white/blue colour scheme of the promotional material in general. This covers the basis of the art style. I did not want to constrict myself further with tighter restrictions, simply because I didn’t know what difficulties I would face.

After further sketches and designs, I finally settled on a design for both the poster and the box art.

Box Art

Box art 2

On the box art, my cover is dynamic. It shows the main character charging from right to left. I opted for a negative gradient across the whole double side, as I felt it was suitable that it appeared that the character is fighting up into the ranks of redcoats as the game is about rebellion- fighting against a higher power. I think the front is simple enough. It contains the case details, as well as the main character and negative gradient- French Tricolour, and the title fills the space perfectly. If there were anything else on there, it would feel crowded.

On the spine of the case I opted for the simple and regimented spine of many other case designs. I was not sure what type was used for the game title, but I feel I found a good match with “Frutiger Black”.

On the rear I have left it relatively simple. After further research into what is legally required by various governing bodies and console manufacturers on the case, I was surprised at how much room is required for ratings and feature notifications. As a result I had to halve the amount of room I had saved for slogans and images. However, I am pleased with the results, and the simple “Europa is United” image looks good next to the rest of the design.

When it came to approaching the box art in general, I decided to scrap the original design and semi-merge the two poster designs with the character and enemies facing off. I altered it slightly so that they were on one gradient, to really add momentum to the image.

 

 

Poster

Dominion 2 RGB small 72 DPI

On the poster, I decided to have the enemy Redcoats front and centre. They are shown standing in a uniform rank, which creates quite an ominous force. They are placed along a negative gradient Tricolour, as though facing off to anyone beneath them. When creating the poster, I wanted to make the enemies seem oppressive and characterless, as though drones following their master’s bidding. I believe I have accomplished this, especially as they are the only characters on the poster, with no scenery. The strong title also adds to the militaristic look.

 

However, when looking at the poster, I feel as though something is missing. Perhaps some texturing of the Tricolour background would improve it, just to add some extra flavour. If I were to repeat the project, I would investigate items to add in the background.

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