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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Board Game Design Summit: Art Direction for Board Games: Creating Compelling and Effective Visual Designs

Gregory Grimsby  (Professor, George Mason University)

Date: Monday, July 19

Time: 1:20pm - 1:50pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Board Game Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

The visual design of a tabletop game can make or break its success, especially when competing for crowdfunding dollars. Amazing miniatures or beautiful boards can generate buzz about your game and really sell the theme, so there is a lot at stake. Yet many indie developers may be too small to use a traditional art director and leave their visuals in inexperienced hands. This session discusses key visual aspects of board game design from style and tone to affordances and cognitive load. These often-neglected fundamentals will maximize the impact of your visual design while reinforcing the gameplay and strengthening the fun factor.


Attendees will see how art design can improve cognitive load in their games. Affordances as a means to improve playability will be discussed. The talk will also explore crucial aspects of design including visual hierarchy, layout, colors, and style.

Intended Audience

This talk will help board game designers who want to be more informed about visual design. Graphic Designers new to board games will benefit from the board game specific context. Digital Game artists wanting to 'take the plunge" into board game art design will also benefit.