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  • Writer's pictureScott Lowe-James

Crumbs! Dev Blog #6 - Illustrations

In anticipation of the Kickstarter launch of Crumbs! The Sandwich Filler Game, its designer (Jon) and publisher (Scott) will be discussing the process of designing and developing a game from concept to creation! This week, developing the artwork for Crumbs:

Jon: My vision of the cards being a realistic representation of the game immediately gave me some 'rules' for the art:

1. Having 'full-art' cards (minimising any information that might dilute the elegance and realism of the cards)

2. Keeping artwork in line with what you would actually see when making a sandwich, (birds-eye view images)

3. Double-coded artwork to support those with visual issues (Unique colours and patterns to easily identify cards)

I was exceptionally happy with my initial prototypes, although my partner, my fingertips, and my laptop keys weren’t! I spent a huge amount of time trying to line stuff up due to having the art and IT skills of a child. Who has very poor art and IT skills.

Jon's prototype copy of Crumbs!

Without the skilled work of a graphic design artist, there were a minority of early playtesters who found it hard to distinguish between some ingredients on the order cards. However, when the professionals were called in, any issues here not only disappeared but the changes in orientation and size hugely increased the clarity of those order cards.

The only other art consideration when mocking up prototypes were how to represent the customers; I always had the idea of customers being realistic with the thinking that if the game is thematic and intuitive, serving sandwiches to an anthropomorphic animal or fantasy creature could break that immersion.

Lastly, I’d be remiss to not mention how perfect and brilliant Rory’s artwork is for the game and for the praise to also extend to Scott for considering Rory for the art from the very start.

Scott: When I first played Jon's prototype of Crumbs!, I was struck at how effective the artwork was. Whilst simple graphics (although far better than Jon likes to make out) it portrayed exactly what it needed to and its style matched the gameplay well. During Jon's early playtesting, it's charm seemed to really resonate with playtesters so as the saying goes, if it ain't broke don't fix it!

I knew I wanted to take Jon's existing artwork and expand on it, to give it the 'Minerva' treatment and turn it into a really clean and bold aesthetic that would be visually reminiscent of Swatch whilst retaining its own identity. Whilst I was responsible for all of the art in Swatch, this work would be more complex and for this I'd need an artist who had an established vector-graphics portfolio, whose style could match my vision, and preferably had experience working in the board game industry.

Rory's updated artwork

Luckily, Rory Muldoon is all of these things and more. A board game illustrator, published designer, and indie publisher (as Postmark Games with Matthew Dunstan), I was very familiar with Rory's work and knew him personally after meeting him at a convention (where he thrashed me at Lost Ruins of Arnak!). Looking at his work on Tinderblox, I knew this style was right up his street and was lucky enough to fit into his schedule.

I felt like a client from hell asking for 'flat graphics but with a 3D feel', but Rory knew exactly how to achieve it and, combined with his idea for stacking the ingredients vertically, gave the sandwiches a real depth with only 2D components. This is one part of what makes this microgame punch way above its weight visually, a common praise we hear from those who play (or just see!) Crumbs!.

The evolution of the ham and cheese toastie
In our next entry, creating Crumbs!' customers and their orders!

Crumbs! is launching on Kickstarter on 8th August, click here to get notified when we go live:


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