Real-World Design Makeover
Star Wars and The Clone Wars are trademarks of Lucisfilm Ltd.
© 2009 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved.
Star Wars Miniature Packaging Gets a New Look
Wizards of the Coast www.wizards.com
Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., is considered the global leader in hobby gaming. Based in Renton, Washington, the company employs more than 300 people. Originally founded in 1990 by Peter Adkison, Wizards rose to prominence in the hobby games market on the strength of the innovative and revolutionary trading card game Magic: The Gathering.
Wizards is the current license holder and publisher of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game (RPG) and Star Wars Miniatures. The first Star Wars RPG product was released in 2000 and the Star Wars Miniatures game started in 2004. A new edition of the Star Wars RPG rules, Saga Edition, was released in June of 2007.
According to Paul Hebron, Art Director for Star Wars Miniatures, most of their products had fallen into the trap of “same carton, just re-skin the graphics.” Everything started to look the same and lacked shelf visibility. With the advent of The Clone Wars animated feature and TV series, Wizard’s Brand team requested a redesign of the packaging for a fresh look. The timing couldn’t have been better, as a full line of new products was being introduced based on The Clone Wars—boosters, a starter set, map packs, and a scenario pack. Objectives for the new packaging included:
• Reduce size of package while maintaining visual size of illustration and logo
• Consider unique packaging shapes to drive visibility
• Improve readability and message hierarchy by placement and color choices
• Show more miniatures on the package
• Create a distinct look for application to Star Wars Miniatures SKUs.
DESIGNERS: PAUL HEBRON AND LEON CORTEZ
We invited our Brand and Sales teams to go with us on several market walks to view our original packaging in a real-world environment. We considered placement, package condition, and visibility on the shelf against competitive products. I always try to be on the same page with the team before putting pen to paper, and retail is the best place to begin the process.
For inspiration, we explored beyond toys, games, and hobby items by looking at anything that might stand out. Because of our tight schedule, we chose to eliminate some concepts at the sketch phase. Leon and I tossed ideas back and forth until we developed a concept that resonated with both of us. From there, I provided volume and scale information based on contents, factoring in our sustainable package goals (smaller package).
Leon used Adobe Illustrator to create a die-line to scale. After several paper mock-ups and making adjustments to the die, we passed the information to our vendor for cost estimates and pack-out feasibility. While this was in process, Leon applied graphics to our preliminary design using Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. We used these mock-ups to present to Lucas Licensing and our internal teams for concept approval.
The new booster pack design reduced materials and shipping by 20%. This design also translated successfully for all subsequent Star Wars Miniatures products, including boosters, a starter set, map packs, and a scenario pack. Star Wars Miniatures: The Clone Wars was announced as the best miniatures line at the 35th Annual Origins Awards in June 2009. The packaging illustrations for this series, by Terese Nielsen, were selected for Spectrum 15 and 16 as among the best in contemporary fantastic art.
ABOUT THE DESIGNERS
Paul Hebron Art Director
Paul Hebron started working at Wizards in mid-2003 shortly after moving from Los Angeles. Paul says, “I wanted greener grass and Seattle truly is the Emerald City. Sometimes I miss Los Angeles. There was something insanely comforting about being able to see the air I breathe and the challenge of successfully navigating a 15-mile route in less than an hour through midday traffic.”
In Los Angeles, Paul owned a design studio for nine years specializing in entertainment-related design. His clients included Fox Entertainment, Paramount International, Saban, and Warner Brothers. Prior to establishing his studio, he was Director of Creative Services at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan Entertainment and was purchased by Lionsgate). Since 2003, he has worked on Star Sisterz, a collectable charm game for girls; Code Name Kids Next Door TCG; D20 Modern RPG books; and of course Star Wars Miniatures.
Leon Cortez Senior Designer
After graduating cum laude from the University of Southern Colorado with a Bachelor of Science; Major in Art degree, Leon Cortez spent the next several years in the apparel industry designing T-shirts and graphics for Tyvek jackets. In 1998, he started at one of the top merchandising agencies on the West Coast as a Senior Designer for their Consumer Products Division designing toy packaging. Working for this fast-paced agency, Leon gained a lot of solid experience, which has allowed him to excel in his current position as Senior Designer for Wizards of the Coast since 2004. According to Leon, “Working at a game company is a dream job. I get to work with a team of top designers, which keeps me learning and attaining new skills. The best part of my job is getting to play all day. I still enjoy being a graphic designer as much as I did fifteen years ago when I started.”