art & design

I Designed A Video Game Cover

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I am so far behind with posting about my design projects at college. I think I have another 3 to write about. Anyway I thought today I would talk a little about the biggest project we have done so far.

The brief was to create the cover and disk art for a video game. This project wasn’t about redesigning an existing game cover so we also had to come up with an idea for a game and it’s name. I’m also doing a presentation on this project next week so thats going to be fun.


I started out by researching video games. I had a look at game covers and at different types of gameplay. Most covers just had the main character on it which I thought was a bit boring. I really liked the Bioshock Infinite cover. It showed more of the world and what the game was about.

I like pixel art so I looked at a few games that used that art style. I love the look of Fez so I thought about doing something like that. I also really like things to be simple. Thomas Was Alone is great because the art is as simple as it could possibly be. You are literally just moving shapes around the screen. All this visual imagery is then collated on Pinterest.


We were given three genres to choose from for our game, ancient Greece, gangsters or science-fiction. I like science-fiction, I read way too many science-fiction books so I knew right away I would be making a sci-fi game. At the time of doing this project I also happened to be reading a space opera so I decided that my game would be set in space.

I started out by researching space ships, I looked at some real space craft (Voyager, Discovery, ISS), then some ships which could technically be real without too much advancement in science (Hermes from The Martian, that ship from Deep Impact). I then went on to look at the proper sci-fi ships, the Millennium Falcon, the Axiom (from Wall.E), Heart of Gold, Klingon Bird of Prey ect.

I looked at even more space ships then went on to look at characters and costumes. Since I was making a game set in space I focused on the space suits. I loved the simplicity of the mission patch from The Martian so I wanted to try making something like that.


I had a look at some sci-fi landscapes then I went on to mind-mapping. I wrote down literally every single space related term I could think of. Finally I came up with the name of a star: Deneb. And that turned into Deneb’s Folly.

I won’t go into too much detail about what the game is about but it’s basically an alien invasion type strategy game. Where you are Ender (but like, you know the bad guys are real obviously. Did I just give away spoilers for Ender’s Game? No wait I’m explaining this badly. This isn’t a game based on Ender’s Game, you just take on the same role as Ender in that you orchestrate the whole battle.

I then went on and drew some thumbnails to figure out what I wanted the cover to look like. I literally drew anything I could think of and finally came up with a few ideas I liked. Now that I knew what sort of direction I wanted to go in I went and did some more research. I looked at sci-fi typefaces and more covers of games set in space.


My first idea was to have the Earth on the cover. So I printed out a bunch of pictures of the Earth and Moon and played about with the composition. I decided I liked it best with the partially eclipsed Earth in the center. So I went on to work out how I would include the title of the game and the moon into it. I tried lots of different ideas and eventually I decided I liked the version with the moon acting as the ‘o’ in ‘Folly’ with the orbit path around it.

My second idea was to go really simple and have shaped representing the alien and human ships. This idea was good but I felt it needed more work. So I moved forward with my first idea. I knew I wanted the logo part to have the orbit with the Moon as the ‘o’. But I still didn’t know what typeface I wanted to use so I went and did more research and the two typefaces I liked the best I tried in the actual logo.

I then went on to NASA’s website to find photographs of the Earth since all of NASA’s photos are copyright free. There were two photos I liked and I decided the eclipse picture looked better. Especially with the plain background. It still looked pretty boring so I decided to add a lens flare.

Photoshop actually has a couple of default lens flares but I didn’t like the way they looked so I found a tutorial and made my own. From there it was just a case of playing about with layers in Photoshop till I liked the colours.


I was really pleased with how this turned out. It actually looked like a game you could buy in the stores. Though as much as I liked the name I did start to hate it by the end of this project. But I suppose it was only because of having that ‘o’ in the right place that I ended up with this final design. So I really couldn’t change it.

I also noticed that the colour of the title is different in the disk art. I should have taken the time to copy over all the different layers. Because the colour is actually the same on both. But there are a bunch of semi-transparent layers in the cover file which changed the colour of the title slightly.

Thanks for reading.
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