ABORANTH: THE CARD GAME
Aboranth is a collaborative senior project between myself and my classmate and designer Giancarlo Hernandez. Our collective objective was to make a fun turn-based battle card game entirely from scratch, along with accompanying deliverables such as packaging, booklet, and trailer.
We decided to make a card game for a couple of reasons. First, card games have been a staple of our youth, and we grew up loving them. I had only played a few of the more well-known card games when I was younger, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon. At the same time, Giancarlo has been familiar with many other exciting card games he introduced me to during our collaboration, such as Fluxx and SushiGo!
Second, it seemed like a perfect combination of our natural capacities and interests; while we both have an interest in gaming, Giancarlo truly has more of an affinity for the subject and has already incorporated gaming culture, design, and tropes within his work, where I have a love for branding design, character design, and illustration, especially illustrations of my closest friends, as the project will later prove to allow.
We decided that it was better to divide work amongst ourselves based on our strengths, with Giancarlo working on the typographical and compositional aspects of the game and I working on the visual assets, both logo and character-based.
We wanted Aboranth to be as wholly original and as possible and personal. I suggested that we model these characters after ourselves and our friends here at Purchase College, which would help simplify the character design process for me and make it fun for us to see our friends showcased in our project.
Though the development of these characters was made more accessible by modeling them after our friends, designing them to fit the style of this world and of their factions were considerations that took some time to do. Furthermore, since we established a world that harbors both magic and technology, we had to straddle an excellent line in design between science fiction and fantasy. To that end, we found much inspiration from the Vaporwave art and style, which noticeably features the look of sleek technology combined with bright and vibrant colors and sometimes surrealist imagery, which helped us fit the needs of our setting and aesthetic.
Aboranth came up as a play on the word “aberrant,” meaning deviating from the norm or unusual. We thought this name worked perfectly as a descriptor for the main character we have established in our narrative, and by switching up the wordplay, we now have a name that sounds perfectly fantasy-like.
Together, we developed the logomark; with me introducing the crystalline patterns and colors and Giancarlo sharpening the edges of the letterform to make it look more like crystals, we finally had a name and logo to brand our product. Eventually, we both agreed that the logo form was too clean and did not correctly broadcast the science-fantasy prospect of our game, so in following with our Vaporwave inspiration (which also looks at the retro subject matter nostalgically), I thought that the best way for us to move forward was to give our logo a sort of retro illumination and shine, similar to movie titles of the ’80s and ’90s. So I added a reflective light quality to the edges of the letterforms and the form of the crevices in the crystal structures, as though a spotlight was shining on the title. This helped a lot in adding a nostalgic feel to our game and better hinting at the fantastical nature of our setting and characters.