Designing a board game is huge, huge thing to do. Not only is it important to play-test your idea to death and find a mechanic that stands out of the masses of daily released board and card games, it is also crucial to do an excellent job on the graphics and illustration part. Never have been more games released and the overall quality of board games has increased a lot in the last 2-3 years.
When you’re reading this, it is likely you’re an aspiring or even seasoned game developer yourself and you’re using the social networks like facebook and reddit to talk about your passion. If so, you’re familiar with regular posts like ‘Artist for hire’ or ‘open for commissions’. While it’s great opportunity for the artists to make something for the hobby they love or an inexpensive way for you game desigerns who just started their business to get art for their game, it is often the wrong way to start off your business. Art should always the last thing you’re considering for your game.
I had a few conversations with people who bought art for their game early on and then happened to be stuck with it, because they didn’t know how to proceed with it and how the rest of the game should look like. This is the reason why I’d recommend you: always get an illustrator and a graphic designer or preferably both in one person (to save you costs).
Here’s an example what the graphic designer is doing for you: Below you can find an excerpt of an upcoming TTRPG I was commissioned to work on (more examples here).
I’m responsible for the artwork as well as the layout of the player’s handbook. The most important things that a professional designer will help you with is how to make your product accessible, make navigating through your rules and narratives easy and quick and how to get illustration and layout combined to one visual language that is consistent and cohesive. Also a functional iconography is crucial for the understanding and readability of your game, well-made player-aids can decide whether your game is only collecting dust or new players.
So at first be always on the lookout for a designer rather than an artist, because most of the work will be done by him/her and the artist is the cherry on the cake and makes your theme come alive.
Hope this was a helpful insight, if you want to chat about this topic or have any questions, feel free to comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!