Getting a prototype through can be incredibly useful, a well as a little bruising. I spent the few days before the first prototype arrived feeling anxious (there are other reasons, which I’ll share with you later) but not too concerned about the actual print. And then it arrived, and it was immediately clear that actually, there was an issue.
From a design point of view, the biggest issue was the colour. Specifically the colour around the outside. The inner base is a turquoise green, with a dark blue outer section. The colours create a night-time atmosphere, a sense of sneaking into the base over the cover of darkness.
The problem was that the outer part was too dark. Far too dark. It looked great on the screen, but on the printed board the path didn’t show up and the barbed wire dividing it into segments was impossible to see. The path was really just pretty background, but the barbed wire was important. Every playtester mentioned how difficult it was to tell where one square ended and another began. The prototype confirmed all this. And so we had to do something about it.
My first instinct was to simply make the blue lighter. Mark, being a professional designer, knew what would happen – the blue started looking purple. The purple and turquoise together looked less like an elegant design and more like a mistake.
We looked at keeping the blue the same, but changing the other colours on the outer section – possibly making the barbed wire green (definitely not a good look) or white (also not great). We also looked at making the entire board green, but distinguishing the outer section with closely placed dots – which didn’t look bad, but lost much of the night-time feel.
In the end, Mark combined the original blue with the green to produce a lighter blue which would sit well alongside the inner section of the board. We looked at a slightly greener path, then decided on a slightly bluer path. Crucially, the barbed wire stands out well. We’re keeping our fingers crossed until we actually see it in the new sample.