Introduction and Modern Art

As a quick introduction, my name is Mike Doyle and I'm a graphic designer, artist and boardgame enthusiast. I live in northern NJ and work in NYC as a design director for a brand consulting agency where I design corporate identities and packaging graphics for a variety of clients.

On my spare time, I've developed a few graphic "refreshes" for some games as personal projects and have taken on some work for publishers. You can see an overview of these and other projects that I've done on my game portfolio. For Puerto Rico, I've developed two directions – one which is a dressed up version of the existing format and other more novel approach using a single board. This single board option plots all the buildings on a large map in such a way that buildings which influence like roles are positioned together along one axis (horizontal) and the purchase price another the other (vertical) axis. Players then play their colored building pieces on this single board. In this way, players can compare each other's buildings directly. All this is housed on a handpainted map in late medieval style of a port city. This can be viewed on here. You can also find a set for Age of Mythology: the Boardgame here. In this rendition, the wealth of mythological imagery is brought to life in a rich museum piece setting. Plastic acrylic boards embedded with magnets capture the tiles also made from acrylic. Also of interest, gameKultur. I'm afraid I was way too ambitious with this project and have not had the time to refresh it as I would have liked. Hopefully a couple times a year, I can release new issues.

Currently, I'm working on a new edition of Modern Art for a certain publisher. I've never been a fan of the graphics from the previous publications – actually thought them very poor. From the easily nicked black borders on the cards to the color fields around the paintings that interfere with the look of the art, the overall look seems to have little respect for art or contemporary pieces. One puzzling aspect for those who know art, is the choice of art pieces. The context of the game is that of tracking emerging artists. The designer, however, simply raided the textbooks for "modern art" with choices that represent art from the 1910's to the 70's. This hardly feels like I'm bidding on artists that are up and coming. So many other small details, like the paintings' names or media (e.g. watercolor on paper) could add to the feel of one experiencing art. Another little irritating element are the cryptic icons. I'm not sure why designers immediately gravitate to icons, but many a time it seems that it would be much more intuitive to simply write the word or use a letter. For instance a "1" for once around or "2" for double. In these cases, it is easy to grasp the relationship between the abbreviation and the core message. I hope that this new publication can translate the experience of viewing contemporary art and better showcase the pieces for a heightened experience.

For the most part, I hope to write here about thoughts concerning the production of games, their artwork and overall looks of games.

- Mike